Grattan Academy teacher/Santa helps out on ‘Extreme Makeover’

By Kelli Ameling • Last Updated 11:14 am on Monday, December 12, 2011

Ted Flynn has many titles, including teacher, professional Santa Claus, athletic director and social studies teacher. Here he is seen in his classroom with his dog Winston, whom he sometimes brings to class. — Daily News/Kelli Ameling

EUREKA TOWNSHIP — A local teacher will appear in an upcoming episode of ABC’s “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” along with 65 of his professional Santa colleagues.

Ted Flynn is a social studies teacher and athletic director at Grattan Academy for most of the year. He dabbles as a professional Santa in winter.

Flynn responded to a casting call from ABC for Santas to participate in a taping of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition in Columbus, Ohio. He found out about the casting call through his membership in the Michigan Area Professional Santas (MAPS) group.

The episode will showcase the Rhodes family who took in their daughter and grandchildren after finding out their daughter was diagnosed with a potentially deadly brain tumor, according to a press release from ABC spokesman Chandler Hayes.

With the help of the Extreme Makeover: Home Edition crew, volunteers, Santas and holiday cheer, the Rhodeses got a new home to accommodate their needs.

The two-hour show begins at 8 p.m. Friday on ABC.

Flynn said ABC was asking for about 200 Santas. They went with some Santas from the Amalgamated Order of Real Bearded Santas, of which he is also a member.

The Santas were in full gear in July for the taping of the Extreme Makeover: Home Edition Christmas Special, Flynn said.

“It was 110 degrees,” Flynn said.

Hayes said the show used the Santa Clauses on demolition day to help bring down the Rhodes family’s home.

Flynn said the Santas tried different ways to bring down the house, but it was finally demolished with the help of Christmas magic.

“I was standing right in the front row,” Flynn said of demolition day.

A worker from the show came over to him and told him not to move because pieces of the house were going to land right in front of him. If Flynn tried to move out of the way, it would it would cause a domino effect in the rows of Santas behind him.

“He drew a line right in front of me,” he said. “And that’s where it landed, right in front of me on the line.”
Flynn said he was impressed with how well the show is choreographed.
“It was really completed in a week,” Flynn said.

Before being on the show, Flynn had an idea of what Ty Pennington and the rest of the crew might be like. He thought they were going to be rude, mean and completely opposite of what Extreme Makeover: Home Edition shows.

He was wrong.

Ted Flynn has been a professional Santa Claus for about 10 years. — Courtesy photo


“They were the nicest group of people ever,” Flynn said.

During the show, he said Pennington sang and played the guitar for people. The whole cast was friendly and kind, he said.

The main cast was even trying to help with shading because of the heat.

“I didn’t expect it,” he said.

All of the Santas were invited to stay for the whole week and help build the new home for the Rhodes if they wished. Although some did stay, Flynn was only there for Saturday and Sunday.

He said ABC paid for food and took care of them, but he did have to pay for a hotel.

“I paid a little for the experience,” he said. “I would do it again in a heartbeat. It was a good experience.”
Flynn has been a professional Santa for about 10 years. He said he first attempted it when his son was 6 years old. He did it on and off before becoming a professional Santa.

Outside of his memberships, Flynn also is certified on a master level from Schools for Santas, one of the most prestigious Santa schools in America, he said.

His favorite part about being Santa Claus is the children. He said all professional Santas do it for the children and are dedicated to giving kids a better experience.

“Definitely the kids,” Flynn said. “It is different every day.”

Being Santa Claus is a lifestyle change, Flynn said.

“You are Santa 24/7. You have to be on your best behavior at all times,” he said.

Tune in
What: “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” two-hour special, featuring Grattan Academy teacher Ted Flynn.
When: 8 p.m. Friday.
Network: ABC (channels 13 and 41)

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