As an NCSS-NCATE National Recognized Program of Excellence, our program has graduated and certified some of the most outstanding teachers in the state of Illinois and throughout the United States. Our teachers can be found in almost every district in Illinois and in twenty-three different states, from California to Virginia. Our focus on training teachers to be exceptional educators who are creative, dynamic, and life-long learners has resulted in a core group of educators throughout the nation who are working to develop the hearts, minds, and dreams of the next generation. NIU Teachers Achieve!
Curie Metro High School's (Chicago/CPS) "Action Civics" program, led by our very own Adam Heenan (2009) was presented with the annual Mikva Award at a ceremony in late April. Presenting the award was (then) mayor-elect Rahm Emmanuel. Adam has long been engaged in civic action projects and his achievements and leadership were called "instrumental" in challenging CPS students to take an active role in the political landscape of the city and state!
A career in education can lead to many different paths. After Kathryn graduated from NIU with an M.A. in history and her teaching certificate she joined Michigan AmeriCorps and has been working to help students achieve their full potential ever since. Although not a traditional teaching position, her work with the Marquette area schools has given Kathryn the opportunity to touch the lives of thousands of students.
In her first year working with the Marquette schools she participated in a Global Vision Committee where she worked cooperatively with one of the National Geographic Teachers of the Year. An important outcome of this collaborative effort was the creation and implementation of programming designed to expose students to cultures from around the world. In addition to her curriculum work, Kathryn has worked to integrate interdisciplinary studies into the curriculum. As part of this effort she set up a video conference with NASA's Kennedy Space Center for 225 fifth graders.
Outside of her work with Michigan AmeriCorps, Kathryn has been involved as a volunteer at the Marquette County History Museum where she has helped research and design the new Fur Trade Exhibit which will go on display when the new museum opens next year. In keeping with her love of teaching, Kathryn is also an adjunct instructor at Ashford University where she teaches courses in history and anthropology. In July 2009 she was named Michigan's AmeriCorps Member of the Month.
Jennifer Juenke graduated from NIU in the spring of 2006 with the hopes of landing a job teaching Psychology, but she knew getting that first teaching job would be hard, especially in an elective course. With an extreme amount of persistence in her job search Jennifer was offered a 4/5 position teaching US History and AP Psychology starting in the fall of 2006 at a fantastic school with a strong mentoring program and supportive faculty and department chair. What began as a temporary position quickly turned into a full-time position, and today Jennifer is extremely happy with her current position teaching five sections of AP Psychology to juniors and seniors at Homewood-Flossmoor High School, D233.
When Jennifer began her career at H-F there were only seven sections of AP Psychology taught. She is currently in her third year at H-F, and the enrollment for the course as expanded to eleven sections. The growth in student interest in the course could be due to the dedication brought fourth by Jennifer to ensure her students have enjoyable experiences learning about psychology. She attempts to make the material relevant to her students’ own lives. She conducts her classes in such a way to allow students to engage in discussions where personal examples can be shared or questions can be asked. She also attempts to engage her students by the use of “hands-on” activities and projects. For example, every year her students get the chance to dissect a sheep brain to help in their understanding of the brain’s structure. Her students also create a “developmental scrapbook” of their own life by applying the theories of cognitive and social development discussed in class to their own development.
In addition to making her course enjoyable, she is also responsible for preparing her students for the National AP Psychology Exam so they can earn college credit for taking the course, and her hard work in doing so has paid off. Her students performed well above the national average the past two years.
Along with her passion for teaching Jennifer has an interest in counseling and is about to start a masters program in school counseling and guidance.
What do language, violence, religion, immigration, genocide, ethnicity, gender, race, sexuality, pop-culture and population all have in common? These are just a few of the topics that are covered in Mr. Timothy Meegan’s AP Human Geography class at Theodore Roosevelt High School in Chicago.
Tim graduated from NIU’s program in 2003 and has been teaching at Roosevelt ever since. His innovative approach and ideas to teaching were even featured in an article in the Chicago Tribune a few years back on using technology and interactive games to teach historical and geographic concepts.
Today Tim teaches one section of geography and four sections of World Studies and his classrooms come to life with the integration of contemporary solutions to historical problems. Every year his students produce an oral history book—a la Studs Terkel—on refugees and immigrants in the Chicago community as part of a migration unit in AP Human Geography. Tim is married to Janet (Smith) also an NIU graduate and they have one son, Liam, age 3.
Since leaving NIU he has also earned an MA in Interdisciplinary Curriculum and Instruction and is now in the process of completing his portfolio for National Board Certification.
Stephen Rauch graduated from NIU and completed the History/Social Sciences Teacher Certification Program in 2008. He currently teaches Social Studies and serves as the Student Government advisor at Mohave High School in Phoenix, Arizona where he was recently honored as the 2010-2011 Teacher of the Year. Steve credits his "excellent teachers" at NIU for "really prepar[ing] me for the classroom." The award is bitter-sweet for Steve because he and his family have decided to leave Arizona and move back to Illinois this summer.
Not all of our program graduates go into teaching. While she does not have a classroom of her own, Linda Wruck is fortunate to actually be able to consider the entire state of Montana as a potential classroom. As the educational officer for the Montana State Historical Society, Linda has been on a traditional Native American buffalo hunt with students from a tribal high school, created a documentary about Montana history that is out on DVD and has an accompanying curricular guide, and gets to work with teachers on new material from the archives all the time. Her work has been used in classrooms all over the state giving her much wider exposure to far more students than if she was in her own, traditional classroom.