Local teacher receives American Legion Florida Teacher of the Year Award | News

PALM BAY – One of the premier public charter schools located in Palm Bay, Odyssey Jr./Sr. High School, and the Palm Bay community have another reason to celebrate the 2021-2022 School Year. Middle School Civics teacher Thomas Rebman is being recognized by the American Legion Department of Florida as their Educator of the Year for 2022.

The award ceremony will take place at the Florida American Legion’s Annual Convention on Saturday, June 18, 2022, at the Hilton Orlando Lake Buena Vista.

The American Legion Department of Florida “Educator of the Year” Awards program serves to recognize dedicated and devoted individuals who, on a constant basis, give so much of themselves on behalf of the education of the children in the State of Florida.

Just like veterans, teachers are unsung heroes of this nation who build our nation’s future by working with the youth of today.

The award is selected from 17 district educator nominees from throughout the State. Mr. Rebman, also a member of American Legion Post 117 in Palm Bay, represented District 12, which covers Brevard County and over 24 posts. There are over 300 American Legion Posts throughout the state that potentially submitted Educator of the Year nominations.

In the recommendation letter to the American Legion, Odyssey Jr./Sr. High School Principal, Ms. Gail Iacono stated “Although I have only worked with Mr. Rebman this school year, I realized his dedication and love of teaching students immediately. There is never a moment that Mr. Rebman is not planning, organizing, instructing, and working with faculty and staff to provide students with the best environment for learning. Most important, he truly cares about students and develops positive, professional relationships with them.”

Mr. Rebman’s path to becoming an educator is certainly remarkable. From 1978 until 2001 he served as an Engineering Officer in the United States Navy. After his retirement from him he returned home to earn his Elementary Education Bachelors Degree and Reading Masters Degree from Stetson University. In 2010, he began his teaching career and he started with Odyssey Jr./Sr. High in 2018.

During his 5-year tenure, his students have outperformed every other school in Palm Bay in Civics. Last year his students scored in the top 9% of the State of Florida. Not only does Mr. Rebman academically challenge students, he makes them better citizens. He started the schools Interact Club which is the high school equivalent of the local Rotary Club. Each year he recruits students for the American Legion Oratory Contest, Boy’s and Girls State, the Rotary Youth Leadership Camp, and other student enrichment programs. Each year he takes his students to attend the Palm Bay City Council Meeting to teach them local civic engagement. He completes community service projects with his students such as Road Clean-ups and serving the elderly. He really wants his students to be well-rounded and productive citizens.

When contacted about the award Mr. Rebman gave accolades to his school and fellow teachers. “Since arriving at Odyssey I have been lucky enough to be part of an organization that cares about the education of the whole child,” he said. “They fully trust and support me in every possible way. This coupled with having great teammates is why I was able to achieve the growth I did with my students. In my class I teach more than the Civics and the Constitution, I want my students to learn how to be better citizens.”

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