Rob Ewing, the founder and director of the Aviation Academy at Farragut, was honored Monday with the Barrett Family Foundation’s Excellence in Science/Mathematics Teacher Award. Ewing was one of six recipients from the Tampa Bay region honored.
“It’s an incredible honor to be recognized like that,” said Ewing, who is in his 18th year at Farragut. “I’m somewhat humbled by it all. At the end of the day, the most important part is helping the program get better and better each year and that’s what I try to do.”
The $10,000 award was created in 2013 to honor teachers who share a passion for teaching science and mathematics with creative and innovative methods and who cultivate student interest in these two fields. In addition, he will receive $5,000 to use for classroom updates.
This is the third consecutive year a teacher from Farragut was honored. Sari Deitche, the science department chair, was recognized last year and Thomas Ma, who teaches Advanced Placement (AP) classes in Calculus AB and BC, Pre-Calculus Honors, and Pre-Calculus Regular, was selected two years ago.
Ewing, who graduated from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, was recognized by his alma mater last year with the Alumni Service Award, mainly due to the diligence put forth in building the aviation program at Farragut and then implementing Embry-Riddle’s Gaetz Aerospace Institute in 2014. The Gaetz program allows junior and senior high school students an opportunity to gain college credits from courses taught by university-credentialed instructors.
“Rob is one of the brightest talents that I have ever seen,” said Aviation Academy instructor Jose Hercher, whose illustrious career as a pilot dates back to his days with Eastern Airlines from 1966-1987. “He has been one of the most important people here at Farragut. The program he devised and implemented has allowed students to learn not only the fundamental skills of flight but the necessary acumen for life. He is a natural when it comes to teaching and his students have prospered because of him. He has given them the foundation for building confidence due to the responsibilities involved with his classes, which often take place outside the classroom up in the air operating an airplane. Rob is simply an outstanding instructor.”
Since beginning at Farragut in 1998, Ewing has trained close to 600 flight students through the program. Currently, seven Farragut alumni attend Embry-Riddle. Better yet, there are approximately 10 former Farragut students who are professional or prep school pilots.
“Over the years, Rob has developed one of the finest Aviation Programs for secondary schools in the Southeast,” CAPT Robert Fine said. “He not only prepares and trains pilots, he also uses the aviation field to engage students in fun and exciting ways, all while reinforcing and teaching the fundamentals of math and science.”