Lee Austin

Each year, the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) honors exemplary teachers, administrators, student support personnel, educational service personnel, community volunteers, board members, and teams from school districts across the state. Five staff members and one team from Evanston Township High School received recognition from the ISBE’s Those Who Excel recognition program for 2016-17.

Rodney Lowe, a journalism teacher in the ETHS English Department, received an Award of Merit in the Classroom Teacher category. For the past 34 years Mr. Lowe has instructed hundreds of ETHS students and built relationships that help students believe in themselves, take responsibility for their own learning, and master skills of writing, editing, and publishing news. He educates students in media and journalistic techniques as adviser to the student-produced newspaper, The Evanstonian. The publication has received numerous awards over the years, recognition in May 2016 as Illinois’s top high school newspaper in the Illinnois High School Association Journalism competition.

In the category of School Administrator, Scott Bramley received an Award of Merit. After serving as Department Chair for English and Reading for two years, Mr. Bramley became the Associate Principal for Instruction and Literacy at ETHS where he models and promotes lifelong learning among students and staff. Over the past four years, he has coordinated with teachers and department chairs to restructure freshman courses and develop a new curriculum with individualized, differentiated instruction that is accessible to all students. In addition to promoting equity and excellence within ETHS, Mr. Bramley also works with numerous community organizations, including Evanston’s Cradle to Career initiative, which works to address the literacy needs of all children.

 Jennifer Foss received an Award of Recognition in the Early Career Educator category. A teacher in the Physical, Wellness & Driver’s Education Department for two years, Ms. Foss models the importance of education by pursuing her own graduate studies, earning her second Master’s of Education in Positive Coaching and Counseling. Her love for dance and passion for encouraging her students to reach their full potential has led to her creating two new dance PE courses and incorporating new and diverse experiences for members of the ETHS Dance Company that she directs. Ms. Foss also serves as the chapter sponsor of the National Honor Society of Dance Arts at ETHS and is involved in many school initiatives, connecting with students and colleagues to promote a positive learning environment.

In the Educational Services Personnel category, Lee Austin received an Award of Merit. For the past two years, Mr. Austin has served as Event Coordinator at ETHS. Formerly working in the ETHS Safety Department, Mr. Austin has demonstrated a consistent willingness to provide premier customer service to internal and external customers by coordinating their special event facilities requests in a timely and courteous manner. As a lifelong learner, he has sought out additional training, enabling him to match any demand that may arise as he collaborates with leadership, staff, students, parents, and members of the Evanston community.

 Aracely Canchola received an Award of Merit in the category of Student Support Personnel, where she has dedicated her work for the past 10 years  An ETHS alumna, Ms. Canchola brings a unique perspective to collaborative efforts to promote educational equity. Through her open-door policy and work as a sponsor for Minority Student Achievement Network and Students Organized Against Racism, and previous work with Latino QUEST, Ms. Canchola has developed student leaders, affirming their strengths and helping students voice their perspectives on issues. She also volunteers in the greater Evanston community, including serving on the board of the Evanston Coalition for Latino Resources. 

The ETHS Ambassador Program, now in its seventh year, received an Award of Merit in the Team category. The Ambassador program is comprised of students, parents, alumni, and staff who seek to promote a welcoming community and serve as a critical touch point for those who are new to the district. Ambassadors commit to attend specialized training and represent a diverse cross-section of the Wildkit family. Their service to fellow students, parents, and graduates includes attending orientation events, mentoring incoming members of the ETHS community, and being available at key events throughout the year to answer any questions new students, parents, or alumni might have during a period of transition. The Ambassador team is comprised of 260 Student Ambassadors, 25 Parents Ambassadors, and 35 Alumni Ambassadors, who are recent graduates who served as Student Ambassadors. The Ambassador program is sponsored by Career & Technical Education teacher Cindy Curtis, New Student Transition Coordinator Ali Hart, and Director of Communications & Engagement Evangeline Semark.