A Teacher's Corner
Getting it Dunn
East English teacher takes baton as MCHSEA’s
spokesperson and media liason
When teachers and students walk past Mrs. Heidie Dunn in the hallways of East Campus, chances are that they are greeted by a warm and sincere smile. Indeed, Dunn’s impact at District 156 has been profound as both a teacher and a colleague, which is part of the reason why she is now representing the association as its spokesperson. We asked her about her time at East Campus
and her new role, and here’s what she said.
When did you start teaching at McHenry High School, and what about the school drew you to the district/community?
I started teaching here in 1996, in the midst of a round of 6 or 7 different interviews at schools both in Illinois and Wisconsin. Despite other job offers, McHenry was my first pick. I was drawn to the feeling of family I found even in the interview process; the administration, staff and students I met during this process, and honestly in my years since, were entirely welcoming and friendly. You can’t replace community, and the MCHS community has always been a support for me.
East Campus and West Campus have distinctly different vibes; what is it about East specifically that rewarding?
It’s all about people, and there are qualitypeople at both campuses, but that same feel-ing of family that drew me to MCHS East in the 90’s keeps me coming back today. I have the pleasure of working with some of the funniest, kindest, most amazing men, women and (yes) teenagers I can imagine. I owe a lot to the faculty and students at MCHS: they have supported me during some of the darkest days of my life and have celebrated with me during my happiest hours.
You’ve signed up to be the public relations person for our association. Why did you decide to take on this role? What makes excited? What makes you nervous?
I’ve been a member of this union for twenty years, and in that time the leadership of the union has done a lot for me, without fanfare, and without any expectation that I would ever “pay it forward.” The union Executive Board and the contract negotiators in the past have set a strong example of community service. Put simply, it’s my turn to stand up and give back to all those who have given up time for themselves and time with family to make sure that my future at MCHS is secure and that our school remains a strong, educationally-focused community. I’m excited to stand up and voice my support for my fellow educators, who I truly believe give of themselves in so many different, un-recognized ways every day to make a difference in the world. I’m nervous that I have big shoes to fill in this role of spokesperson, and I hope that I do justice to the role entrusted to me.
For what reasons do you find the MCHSEA so valuable? In other words, what makes you proud to be part of our association?
I live in Wisconsin - a state currently without the benefit of teachers’ unions - and I’ve seen first hand the effect that has had on the morale of teachers, the respect afforded to the profession and the retention of teachers. Whatever our own, individual, opinions may be about decisions that may be made in the future, it’s important to keep our eyes on the big picture. Together, we represent a profession that daily affects the future -- how many other professions can make that claim? Our association makes our profession stronger; our union gives us all a powerful voice (especially when we feel we can’t be heard). Why wouldn’t I be proud of the MCHSEA?