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Evanston Township High School teacher Eric Brown was recognized by President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden for his commitment to ETHS students as well as his leadership in helping schools across the country navigate the COVID-19 pandemic.
Brown, a biology teacher in the Science Department at ETHS, plays an active role in making ETHS a safer space for LGBTQ+ students and increasing achievement for students of color. He is also a member of the National Education Association (NEA) Executive Committee. The committee is a nine-member governing body that oversees more than 3 million members. It is responsible for general policy and interests of NEA and acts for the NEA Board of Directors in between regularly scheduled meetings.
The NEA Executive Committee worked with the Biden Administration to open schools in a safe and equitable way during the COVID-19 pandemic. Brown helped craft an NEA report that gave a path forward for educators to help students learn and thrive both now and beyond COVID-19.
“This work at the NEA comes through an ETHS lens,” said Brown. “I’ve taught at ETHS since 1999 and understand the importance of student well-being when it comes to reopening schools and ensuring those hit hardest get the support they need.”
Brown met President Biden and the first lady at the NEA’s Representative Assembly in July and a few weeks later received a letter in the mail from the couple thanking him for his longstanding commitment to students across the country and at ETHS. Brown shared the letter with students in his classroom at the beginning of the school year.
“The students now recognize the work that went into getting them back to school, and that’s impactful,” said Brown. “They understand that they are valued.”
ETHS Science Teacher Named a Stellar Educator
Evanston Township High School biology teacher Karen Johnson was named a Stellar Educator by the Society for Science and will serve in the organization’s Advocate Program for the 2021-22 school year.
The Society for Science Advocate Program recognized 66 educators from around the country. The program strives to inspire the next generation of scientists, engineers and innovators through hands-on research and competition, and supports full representation of all identities in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) career fields.
Johnson’s goal is to firmly establish a vibrant high school research community at ETHS. She and her colleagues in the Science Department continue to offer independent research opportunities to their students.
“We are trying to encourage high school students, particularly those who don’t always see their identities represented in scientific fields, to indulge their curiosities through scientific inquiry and experimentation,” said Johnson. “Society for Science has been generous enough to provide some resources in the form of a materials grant and additional support for me and our students, as I work to help mentor these budding scientists.”
To date, the Advocate Program has provided mentorship in science and engineering research for more than 4,000 historically underrepresented students. For more information, visit the Society for Science website.