May 12, 2010
Mathematics teacher Darshan Jain is one of 10 recipients of the Golden Apple Awards for Excellence in Teaching
. Jain, who was selected from a pool of 562 nominees, was presented with the award during a surprise ceremony at the beginning of school today. Several Golden Apple program representatives were on hand, along with Jain’s wife, Seju, and their children, Brianna and Eden.
Jain is the second Stevenson teacher to receive the Golden Apple Award. Charles Hamberg, who also taught mathematics, was a member of the inaugural Golden Apple class of 1986
. (Former SHS social studies teacher Barry Bradford also was a Golden Apple winner, but received the award at a different school.)
Jain, who will turn 38 on Sunday, has taught at Stevenson since August 2004. He currently teaches Geometry Honors and Precalculus Honors, and also serves as a coach for the school’s mathematics team.
Assistant Principal for Teaching and Learning Dr. John Carter, who hired Jain while serving as director of the SHS Mathematics Division, said he had no doubt the Golden Apple winner was one of the top teachers in the state and nation. Carter frequently steered visiting educators to Jain’s classroom to observe the teacher in action.
"On several occasions, the observers would report back to me that their experience in Darshan’s class was the best teaching of mathematics they had seen in a long time and in some cases, ever," Carter wrote in his letter of support to the Golden Apple selection committee. "Since the day he started at Stevenson High School, Darshan has demonstrated a commitment to excellence that pushes him to continuously learn about the art and science of teaching."
Jain and the other nine Golden Apple winners — all high school teachers — were informed of their awards today and Tuesday. He is the only Lake County educator honored.
Each Golden Apple Award recipient receives a tuition-free, six-month sabbatical to study at Northwestern University. Each winner also receives a $3,000 cash award. All recipients also become fellows of the Golden Apple Academy of Educators
Jain worked as an engineer for several years before deciding to enter teaching. After receiving his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 1996, Jain worked as a project manager for Unimast Incorporated in Franklin Park, overseeing the design and construction of a new manufacturing plant. He then worked as an engineer for firms in South Bend, Indiana and Lombard before changing careers.
Jain earned his masters degrees in secondary mathematics teaching from UIC in 2004. During his final semester, Jain’s student-teaching assignment took place at Glenbard North High School in Carol Stream.
He has risen quickly in the teaching field. He has presented at local and state mathematics conferences, and participated in the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics’ Research Agenda Conference in 2008. He also has been a collaborator with researchers from Illinois State University investigating student reasoning, and with researchers from Penn State University as they sought to develop a conceptual framework to guide the development of mathematical knowledge for teaching. While working on his masters degree at UIC, Jain also worked with students from under-served populations.
The recipients of the 2010 Golden Apple Awards for Excellence in Teaching will be honored at a black-tie event on Friday, October 15 at WTTW/Channel 11 Studios in Chicago. WTTW will broadcast the awards in a one-hour television program following the event.
Photo: Darshan Jain (left) listens as Golden Apple representative Jean McGrew talks to first-period Precalculus Honors students about the award. Jain is holding his son, Eden.