Chalkboard Hero James Dallas: High school English teacher, veteran, businessman, and civic leader

James_A._Dallas_Sr.Many gifted educators make significant contributions to their local communities in addition to their dedication to their professions. Such is the case with James A. Dallas, a high school English teacher from Florida.

James A. Dallas was born in Monticello, Florida, on December 19, 1917, one of seven children born to parents Albert and Florida Dallas. Sadly, young Jimmie was orphaned before his twelfth birthday, so he was raised by his siblings. Following his high school graduation from Middletown High School in Hillsborough County in 1936, Jimmie enrolled first in Bethune-Cookman College and then in Florida A&M University. There he played trombone in the university’s marching, concert, and jazz bands. After he earned his degree at Florida A&M in 1941, Jimmie enrolled in the pharmacy program at Howard University. However, ten days after his admittance into the program, young James was drafted into the United States Army. Jimmie served his country as a First Sergeant in the 24th Infantry Division in Okinawa, Japan, from 1942-1946.

Once Jimmie earned his discharge from the army, he accepted a position as a teacher of English and public speaking at Dorsey High School in Miami, Florida. He later transferred to Blanch Ely High School and then Sunrise Middle School. “He was a good English teacher,” remembered former colleague James Crumpler. “The kids liked him. He related real well with them.” In  his fourth year of teaching career, Jimmie married fellow educator Margie Sweet. The union produced three children: Ronald, James II, and Michele.

During these years, Jimmie was active in the local chapter of the NAACP. He became a leader in the Elks Lodge, and became a founding member of the Young Men’s Progressive Association. In addition to teaching and civic activities, Jimmie was also a successful businessman. He owned two nightclubs which hosted many famous musicians of his day, including Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Ella Fitzgerald, Ray Charles, and Lionel Hampton. He also owned a local grocery store and a pest control business.

After a distinguished career spanning 36 years, James Dallas retired in 1982. This American hero and chalkboard champion passed away on April 9, 2004. He was 86 years old. To honor him, a street in Fort Lauderdale has been named after him.

Chicago’s Bob Boone: Innovative Teacher of Creative Writing

Boone-Coming-Up-Taller-Photo-300x274There are so many remarkable educators out there! One of the most amazing is Robert (Bob) Boone, a creative writing teacher and author who hails from Chicago, Illinois.

Bob grew up in Winnetka, Illinois. After his graduation from college, he attended Northwestern University’s School of Education and Social Policy, where he earned his doctorate degree in English Education 1975.

Bob launched his teaching career in 1964. He has taught in Staten Island, Germany, Highland Park, and Chicago. Throughout his long career, Bob has focused on developing the writing skills of students who frequently do not succeed in traditional educational settings. In 1977, the innovative educator established the Glencoe Study Center, where he still remains active. He has worked as a creative writing consultant at Hubbard High School in Chicago, the CYCLE Cabrini Green Social Service Agency, and as an ACT/SAT coordinator at Dunbar High School in Chicago.

In 1991, this talented educator founded Young Chicago Authors to provide opportunities for teen writers from Chicago. The program now serves over 5,000 young people each year. In 2009, this talented educator was honored at the White House by First Lady Michelle Obama, where he accepted an award from the Coming Up Taller Leadership Enhancement Conference. He is pictured here with the First Lady and Lacresia Birts, 18, a participant of the Young Chicago Authors program.

Bob has written several textbooks, a teaching memoir, a sports biography, and a book of short stories. In 2002, he was named Chicagoan of the Year by Chicago Magazine. Today, Bob lives in Glencoe, Illinois, with his wife of many years, Sue. They have three children and five grandchildren.

Bob Boone: a true chalkboard champion.

Carol Jago: A Truly Remarkable Educator

CAJ48344Here is a truly remarkable chalkboard champion: Carol Ann Jago.

Carol was born in the Chicago area to Italian parents, John Crosetto and Mary Giacchino. Her father was from Turin and her mother came from Sicily. After her high school graduation, Carol was educated at st. Louis University and the University of California, Sana Barbara, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in English in 1973. She earned her master’s degree in education from the University of Southern California the following year.

After her college graduation, Carol worked for 32 years as a junior high school and high school English teacher in the Santa Monica Malibu Unified School District. She has also served as a content advisor for the Advanced Placement Literature test and also on the English Advisory Committee. Formerly, she was the president of the National Council of Teachers of English and an editor for the journal for the California Association of Teachers of English. She has worked as the director of UCLA’s California Reading and Literature Project. She’s also been engaged as an educational consultant and a motivational speaker, and she has published numerous books. 

Carol Jago is truly an extraordinary educator.

Patrick Seitz: Animated Move, Anime and Video Game Voice Over Artist—and High School English Teacher

patrick_seitz_full2There are many fine examples of teachers who have made their mark in professions other than education. Such is certainly the case for David Patrick Seitz, a high school Language Arts teacher who has also distinguished himself as a voice actor, script writer, and ADR director. ADR means automated dialogue replacement, and is commonly known as “dubbing.”

David Patrick who prefers to be called Patrick, was born March 17, 1978, in Riverside, California, and raised in that suburb of Los Angeles. After graduating from high school, he earned his bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing (1999), and his master’s degree in Creative and the Performing Arts Writing (2005), both from the University of California, Riverside. Then he went to work as an English teacher at his high school alma mater.

In 2001, the enterprising educator began his career as a voice actor. In this capacity, Patrick has provided voices for several English versions of Japanese anime and video games, performing in over 100 projects to date. In the movies, Patrick is known for his work on the animated movies Inside Out (2015), Monsters University (2013) and Resident Evil: Damnation (2012). He has also done voice over work for video games. He has supplied the voice of Ragna in the BlazBlue series, Scorpion in the last few Mortal Kombat titles, Lucian, Kog’Maw, and Renekton in League of Legends, Arthas Menethil and Garrosh Hellscream in World of Warcraft, among others. As an ADR director, Patrick has adapted and directed over 100 episodes of popular series. He adapted and directed the English dubbed versions of Girls Bravo, Kamichu, Tales of Phantasia, Zegapain, Hell Girl, and Romeo and Juliet.


Educator Jenifer Fox: A Champion of the Strengths Movement

0x9yi1zrd0mnt6rmyjfv_400x400Many innovative teachers make wonderful mentors to other educators. One terrific example of this is Jenifer Fox, a leader in what is known in educational circles as the Strengths Movement.

Jenifer was born on December 9, 1960, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where she spent her childhood. After her high school graduation, she earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, a master’s degree from Middlebury College, and a second master’s degree in education from Harvard.

Jenifer has over 25 years of experience as a teacher and administrator in a variety of settings, including public and private schools, day and boarding schools, religiously affiliated, single-gender schools, special needs schools, and international and American schools. But she is best known for her work in promoting a strengths-based approach to children’s education. In 2008, her book Your Child’s Strengths: Discover Them, Develop Them, Use Them was published by Viking Press. In 2007, Jenifer traveled all over the United States on a bus tour with Marcus Buckingham, a promoter of what is known as the Strengths Movement. Buckingham wrote the foreword to Jennifer’s book, where he specifically praised her revolutionary vision for education.  To learn more about the Strengths Movement, click on this link: Strengths Movement.

Jenifer is also known as the founder of a high school curriculum called the Affinities Program. The name of this program was changed to Strong Planet in 2009. Jenifer also authored The Differentiated Instruction Book of Lists published in 2011 by Jossey-Bass.

Jenifer has delivered keynote speeches on 21st century education, business and school innovation, and developing children’s strengths to over 200 organizations. Additionally, she has made numerous television and radio appearance speaking about schools, students, and leadership.

Jenifer Fox: a true chalkboard champion.