For his entire life, Oak Lawn Community High School has been a part of English Department Chair Jeff Vazzana’s family, for his father taught for 34 years at Oak Lawn Community High School as a teacher. For the past 12 years, Jeff has taught English at Shepard High School. A graduate of both University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana and Olivet Nazarene, Jeff was recently chosen to be a Golden Apple Excellence in Teaching Award finalist.
Jeff has directed plays, both competitive and non-competitive, and coached speech at Shepard High School as the head speech coach and assistant speech coach. Once his daughter was born, he focused on what he could accomplish during the school day rather than after school activities.
As the English Department Chair, Jeff’s goals are to represent the department and advocate for their needs, stay on top of educational trends, and provide students with the best avenue possible for success. He plans to focus on 21st century skills: ensuring students can compete in the real world, whether they go to college or enter a trade. Jeff wants to take our classrooms out of just the four walls of the building and make connections to what is going on in the real world, giving them as many authentic experiences as possible.
Oak Lawn’s mantra is Once a Spartan, Always a Spartan, and it is easy to recognize why. Oak Lawn’s PRIDE runs deep. There is a dedication to excellence here that runs through everyone who works in the building, and not just teachers. The maintenance staff, administrative assistants, dean’s aids---everyone. There’s a collective ownership in ensuring that the school is exceptional, and it makes every day a joy to work.