GBN Math teacher named 2011 Distinguished Teacher
Glenbrook North High School math teacher Brad Benson values the art of problem solving. As a 14-year educator and dedicated assistant math team coach, he believes the world of mathematics goes far beyond just number crunching.
Students are learning how to not just find the right answers, but also navigate through complicated equations. It is through this process they build confidence in their skills and themselves, he said.
Benson was named the 2011 Distinguished Teacher following nominations by five of his students.
“I had no idea. I was nominated a few times before but never won it,” he said.
Who was behind one of the nominations also came as a surprise to Benson. Bansry Shah, a student in his advanced placement calculus class, was someone who excelled academically. However, the college-level course came as a bit of a challenge.
As he watched her continually push herself, Benson admired her motivation but often worried whether he was reaching her as a teacher. Those concerns were tempered after learning of her nomination.
“It really means a lot that it came from her because I admire her a lot and she is a great kid,” Benson said. “She is one of those kids who blows you away with how many things she is involved in and how many things she does.”
In her nomination, Shah acknowledged her teacher’s philosophy that math is much more than just numbers. Through problem-solving students have learned many valuable life lessons including collaboration and creativity, she said.
Shah also expressed her gratitude for having Benson as a teacher.
“A teacher that can give a person passion about a subject that has been one of the biggest hurdles in their high school career, is sincerely a teacher that must be recognized,” she writes in her nomination.
Benson was first hired by the district as a math teacher for the 1997-98 school year. He attended DePauw University in Greencastle, IN, but received a bachelor’s degree in mathematics education from Northeastern Illinois University. He also has a master’s degree in mathematics education from DePaul University in Chicago, IL.
In addition to being named the 2011 Distinguished Teacher, Benson was recognized in 2009 by the Illinois Council of Teachers Mathematics for his outstanding contributions. He has also helped prepare the Math Team for the Illinois Council of Teachers of Mathematics State Math Contest, where they have placed in the top ten over the past several years.