The Student News Site of the Latin School of Chicago

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The Student News Site of the Latin School of Chicago

The Forum

The Student News Site of the Latin School of Chicago

The Forum

Latin Plans to Bring Two New History Teachers on Board

Stofer Stineman
The Upper School History Department is replacing two faculty members for the 2024-25 school year.

The Upper School History Department has hired one new teacher and is in the process of hiring a second for the 2024-25 school year. The teachers will replace Upper School history teacher Stephanie Stephens, who will be on sabbatical, and Upper School history teacher John Brown, who is leaving the school permanently after one year at Latin.

This year, Mr. Brown taught ninth-grade Global Studies and a section of What is Race? Ms. Stephens taught U.S. History, Advanced Topics: European History, and a sophomore elective, Spice: Food, Trade, and Culture.

While a permanent replacement will assume Mr. Brown’s position, Ms. Stephens’ classes will be taught by an interim teacher for next year, with the exception of Spice.

“Spice isn’t running next year because Ms. Stephens wrote it,” Upper School history teacher Ernesto Cruz said. “We’re not going to ask a sub to learn it for just one year.”

After teaching for 31 years straight, Ms. Stephens said, “I want to try some new things. I still love teaching, but I want to develop some different skill sets. I want to revisit some of my past volunteer work. I want to go back and see how I can support this cause.”

While Ms. Stephens is looking forward to her sabbatical and learning more to bring back to the community, some students are disappointed that they will miss out on Spice.

Sophomore Flynn Ogden, who took Spice first semester, said, “The interactive activities that Ms. Stephens [does] really help us learn. I really wish that they didn’t cancel it for the new tenth graders.”

Though students will temporarily lose the opportunity to take Ms. Stephens’ Spice elective, the incoming teachers may introduce their own unique curricula to Latin. “Everything just depends on who we end up hiring,” Mr. Cruz said.

Ms. Stephens said, “I am really excited about the one we’ve already hired. He is wonderfully warm and experienced, and I think he is going to complement the department. I also know the students will love him.”

As the new teachers join the school, they are confronted with the task of adapting to a new environment. “There are aspects of Latin culture that you can’t be aware of coming in,” Mr. Brown said. “From where I came from, I was very impressed with how people were [trying] to help me.”

As the History Department looks for new members, Ms. Stephens’s sabbatical and Mr. Brown’s departure signals an end and a new chapter. While their absences bring both temporary and permanent changes, the arrival of fresh faces brings opportunities for growth within the school community.

“[The History Department] is, and will remain, a dynamic department filled with warm, quirky history nerds doing their best for their students,” said Ms. Stephens.

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