Northbrook Junior High Drama teacher David Downing is one of 34 finalists for The Golden Apple Award for Excellence in Teaching in the state of Illinois.
A veteran educator, Downing is a mentor to both students and teacher. He is a teacher leader who has served on numerous school-wide and district-wide committees.
“I like to think that I teach life skills,” Downing said. “You’ve got to be able to communicate effectively face-to-face to have success in life. You have to be confident and comfortable with how you communicate.”
Downing takes this philosophy beyond the classroom by working students in small group drama clubs. He hosts a different group every day of the week during lunch hour, one day for each grade, along with one day for special education students and one day for Make A Difference Club, a community service club he co-sponsors. He also created an award-winning student club that pairs typical students with students from a local therapeutic school, called the Starfish Theater. The students meet after school once a week to write plays together and perform them at the end of the school year.
Arriving at school each morning around 6 a.m., his day is not done until the end of musical rehearsal, which runs after school four days a week from November through performances in early March. Oh, and then rehearsals for Talent Show begin.
“I prefer the spotlight to be on the kids, not me,” the 30-year veteran educator said.
Downing will be recognized March 4 at an award presentation in Rosemont.
The next step in the selection process is for two members of the 2017 Golden Apple Selection Committee to visit Mr. Downing at Northbrook Junior High. The Team will visit the school to complete a classroom observation and conduct interviews with three parents, three to five students, three to five colleagues, and the Principal.
“David brings such positive energy into the building each and every day, and that’s something that can be transformative for a school culture. He is beloved by students and staff, and he has made such an incredible impact on the NBJH community. I couldn’t be prouder that he is being recognized for his work…he is a truly deserving candidate,” said Dr. Scott Meek, principal.
Ten of the finalists will be selected for the 2017 Golden Apple Award for Excellence in Teaching.