"We Are D97" is a monthly profile series that will highlight the tremendous work being done across the district to advance our vision, achieve our goals, and create a strong sense of community and belonging.
Marvin Childress, Teacher
Lincoln Elementary School
Marvin Childress' ties to District 97 run deep.
His mother, Sandra Adams, taught at Lincoln Elementary School for 32 years before retiring in 2003. His stepfather, Profit Adams, was the school's head custodian. When Marvin started teaching at Lincoln in 2007, his wife, Erica, was also teaching in the district. All three of their children have gone through District 97 schools.
Now in his 12th year, Marvin is carrying on his family's legacy not only as a teacher and mentor, but as the coach of Lincoln's chess club. The program goes beyond the basics of the game, and "teaches our students to be critical, analytical and abstract thinkers," he said.
Prior to becoming a teacher, Marvin worked in advertising as a copywriter for several large companies, including EA Sports. He holds a bachelor's degree from Columbia College and a master's degree in education from National-Louis University.
What Marvin Enjoys Most About Being a Teacher:
"The thing that excites me most is the possibility of changing or inspiring a child's thinking for the better–possibly forever. I like that the district allows me to do just that. I've been fortunate to be given the flexibility to reach kids in some unconventional ways, and that speaks volumes to differentiation in learning."
How He Experiences the District's Vision in His Teaching:
"When we think about education and we think about the ability to teach someone how to do something, it’s like a magical power. You have to teach kids their superpower, you have to show them how to facilitate and navigate through life. When you think about the district’s vision, you think about all that encompasses these kids. It’s not about putting a kid in this 10-minute block or this 30-minute block. It’s about opening the doors for these kids and showing them how to explore the world of education."
Favorite Memory from His Teaching Career:
"I had a parent approach me and say, 'Your mom was my third-grade teacher, and she changed my life. Now you're my son's fifth-grade teacher, and you are changing his life.' That was like a gut punch. I knew at that moment that I was doing the right thing, and that I was where I needed to be."
Former Lincoln Principal Cathy Hamilton:
"I had the honor to work with Marvin Childress (Mr. C) for 20 years at Lincoln School. In that time, I’ve come to learn that Marvin is not only a great teacher, but a role model, mentor and advocate for all children. He goes well beyond the dictionary definition of a teacher. He teaches his students life lessons such a manners and chivalry, and he teaches them to care for one another, their school, community and all human beings."
For many years, Marvin would wake up for work at 4 a.m. and struggle to find matching pairs of socks as he got ready in the dark. "One day I just decided to wear whatever socks I could find, and I had the best day ever," he said. "That was 13 or 14 years ago, and now you'll rarely ever see me with matching socks."