Jean Doerge: Chalkboard Champion and Member of the Louisiana House of Representatives

There are many examples of dedicated educators who have also served in political office. This is true of Jean McGlothlin Doerge, a high school business teacher who also served in the Louisiana House of Representatives.

Jean was born June 4, 1937, in Galbraith, a small town in Natchitoches Parish in Central Louisiana. After she graduated from Cloutierville High School, she enrolled in Northwestern State University (NSU) in Natchitoches. She completed the requirements for her bachelor’s degree in education in 1958. She also became a bride that year, having married fellow student Everett Doerge, also a teacher.

Jean accepted her first teaching assignment as a business teacher at Minden High School in Minden, Louisiana. The following year, she transferred to Arp Independent School in Arp, Texas, where she taught business courses. She also served as the adviser for the school’s newspaper, yearbook, and cheerleaders. At other schools in the following years, Jean taught girls’ physical education, coached the girls’ basketball team, and taught 9th and 10th grade Language Arts. Jean returned to Natchitoches for one year when her husband was hired to coach at Northwestern. At the end of the year, the couple moved back to Minden, where Jean returned to her post at Minden High as business teacher and adviser for the school’s Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA). She spent the next 28 years teaching there, during which time she earned a master’s degree from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge.

As an educator, Jean was clearly an innovator. She was one of the first public school educators in Louisiana to implement computer technology and word processing instruction into her classes. Through the years, she served as instructor for summer classes and night courses at Northwest Technical College in Minden and nearby Homer. She also served on the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) as a secondary representative. Doerge retired in 1992 after 34 years of teaching.

In 1998, the former teacher was elected to serve the unexpired term of her husband, State Representative Dr. Everett Doerge, who had passed away earlier that year. She was re-elected in 2007, and served until 2012, when term limits prevented her continued service. As a legislator, Jean supported many education issues at all levels.

For her distinguished career as an educator, Jean has earned numerous prestigious awards. She has been named to the NSU College of Business Hall of Distinction, and she was the recipient of the Golden Rose Award and the Golden Apple Award presented by the Epsilon State of the Delta Kappa Gamma Society, which recognized her for noteworthy legislation impacting retired teachers’ benefits. She is a member of the FBLA Wall of Fame, and she been recognized by SACS for serving on their  commission from 1988-92.

Jean Doerge: truly a chalkboard champion.

Carol Liu: Chalkboard Champion and Former California State Senator

There are many examples of talented educators who have also served in political office. One such educator is Carol Liu, a secondary school history teacher who served as a California state senator representing District 25 from 2008-2016.

Carol was born September 12, 1941, in Berkeley, California, and raised in Oakland. She earned her bachelor’s degree from San Jose State University in 1963. She then attended UC Berkeley to earn her teaching credential and administrative credential.

After completing college, Carol taught history for 14 years at both the junior high and senior high levels in Richmond, California. Her teaching career there spanned from 1964-1978. During this time, she also served as the Executive Director of the Richmond Federation of Teachers (1975-1978). Carol then became a school administrator, a position she held from 1978-1984. Additionally, she was an instructor at the Goldman School of Public Policy at UC Berkeley.

In 1992, Carol decided to get her feet wet in politics. She was elected to the La Canada Flintridge City Council, where she served until 1999. During that time, she was also selected as mayor of the City of La Canada Flintridge, a post she held from 1996-1999. In 2000, Carol was elected to the California State Assembly on the Democratic ticket. She served there until 2006. In 2008 Carol was elected to the California State Senate, where she served until 2016. While in office, the former teacher served as chairperson of the Senate Education Committee. Her efforts included bills to reinvigorate career and technical education at the high school level, lower the costs of college textbooks, protect foster children, and prevent domestic violence. She also worked towards meeting the needs of low-income families, legislated on behalf of seniors and those with disabilities, and promoted environmental issues.

Read more about Carol Liu’s work in the Senate on Ballotpedia or from the California League of Conservation Voters (CLCV) at Scorecard.

Adam Ryan Young: Chalkboard Champion and politician

In US history, there are many examples of politicians who have been employed as professional educators. One example of this is Adam Ryan Young, a high school social studies teacher who was elected to the West Virginia House of Delegates.

Adam was born on December 16, 1982 in Summersville, Nicholas County, West Virginia. He grew up the fourth of five children in a working class family. Following his high school graduation from Nicholas County High School in 2001, Adam enrolled in Glenville State College, located in Glenville, West Virginia There he earned a BS in Behavioral Science, a BA in Social Studies, and a BA in History, all in 2006. He completed the requirements for his Masters in Education in Educational Leadership from Salem International University in 2010. Adam was the first member of his family to earn a college degree.

After working for five years as a professional in the mental health field, Adam sought out a position as a teacher at his alma mater, Nicholas County High School, in 2006. He has instructed courses in civics, government, American history, world history, geography, sociology, and psychology. In addition to teaching at Nicholas County High, he has served as the Vice President of the American Federation of Teachers and the President of the Faculty Senate for his high school.

Running on the Democratic ticket, Adam was elected to the West Virginia House of Delegates representing District 41. He served there from 2012 to 2014. While in office, he was a member on the committees for Education; Joint Education; Senior Citizen Issues; and Energy, Industry, and Labor Economic Development and Small Business. During his tenure, he co-sponsored the Nonprofit Youth Organization Tax Exempt Support Amendment, a bill that allows property tax exemptions for nonprofit youth organizations that provide opportunities for education and recreation for young people.

Kudos to Adam Ryan Young, chalkboard champion and politician.

Jerilyn Britz: The high school teacher and celebrated pro golfer

Many times successful classroom teachers also distinguish themselves as gifted athletes. This is the case with Jerilyn Britz, a Minnesota educator who is also a two-time winner on the tour of the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA).

Jerilyn was born on January 1, 1943, in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Minnesota State University in Mankato, and her master’s degree from the University of New Mexico.

Following her college graduation, Jerilyn taught physical education at a high school in St. Anthony Village in Ramsey County for five years. She also taught at the college level for three years.

Jerilyn started playing golf at the age of 17 on a tiny nine-hole course in Luverne, Minneapolis. By the time she turned 30, she decided to leave the teaching profession and become a professional golfer. Astonishingly, Jerilyn qualified for the LPGA Tour on her first attempt. She garnered first place at the US Women’s Open in 1979. The following year she captured the title at the Mary Kay Classic held in Texas. Jerilyn also placed second in the LPGA Championship in 1981. She retired from golf in 1999.

For her achievements on the golf course, Jerilyn has been inducted into the Minnesota State Maverick Athletic Hall of Fame, she has been named a member of the Mankato State College Athletic Hall of Fame, and she has been inducted into the Rock County Historical Society Hall of Fame.

Paul Zindel: High school chemistry teacher and celebrated author

Many fine educators distinguish themselves in other fields. Such is the case with Paul Zindel, a high school chemistry teacher who is also a celebrated author and playwright.

Paul was born on May 15, 1936 in Tottenville, on Staten Island in New York. His father was a policeman, and his mother was a nurse. When Paul was still a child, his father abandoned his family, and his mother struggled to support the family alone. It was, by his own account, a difficult childhood.

Upon his high school graduation, Paul enrolled in Wagner College on Staten Island. Although he majored in chemistry, he took a creative writing course from celebrated playwright Edward Albee. Albee encouraged and nurtured Paul’s writing talent.

After Paul earned his college degree, he accepted a position as a technical writer for Allied Chemical. He was employed there for six months, but did not enjoy the work. Pursuing a passion for helping young people, Paul decided to go into teaching. For the next ten years, he taught chemistry and physics at Tottenville High School.

While still teaching, Paul wrote the book he is probably most famous for, The Pigman (1968). It was so successful that in 1969 he left teaching to write full-time. “I felt I could do more for teenagers by writing for them,” Paul once explained. “I started reading some young adult books, and what I saw in most of them had no connection to the teenagers I knew. I thought I knew what kids would want in a book, so I made a list and followed it,” he continued. “I try to show teens they aren’t alone. I believe I must convince my readers that I am on their side; I know it’s a continuous battle to get through the years between twelve and twenty — an abrasive time. And so I write always from their own point of view,” he concluded.

Paul’s other signature work includes The Effect of Gamma Rays on the Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds, which received an Obie Award in 1970 for best American play. He garnered a Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1971.

Sadly, Paul contracted lung cancer and passed away on March 27, 2003. He is interred in Moravian Cemetery in Staten Island.

To learn more about this extraordinary educator and author, visit his website at www.paulzindel.com.