New English, reading, social sciences teachers at ETHS


Lia Kelly

From the left, DeAnna Duffy, Monica Lani, and Jody Elliot-Schrimmer.

Mac Stone, News Editor

These new teachers encompass the English & Reading and History & Social Sciences departments. Throughout the year, The Evanstonian will cover new teachers in other departments.

DeAnna Duffy
Long before becoming a teacher herself, DeAnna Duffy didn’t like the idea of teaching.

“My mom was an elementary school teacher, and I hated the idea of doing what she did,” Duffy said. “[However], when I was in high school, I found that I really liked history and social studies, and I really liked being around people. So I combined those and started tutoring.”

After high school, Duffy went on to the University of Kentucky where she continued to focus on teaching.

“I received my Bachelor’s in history and psychology and then my Master’s in education,” Duffy explained.

One of the main reasons Duffy chose ETHS as her first destination to teach was because of the diverse student body.
“What I really liked about ETHS were the conversations that they had about diversity,” Duffy explained. “When I was in college, I did a lot of research in psychology on helping diverse students, so the fact that we have such a commitment to that and that it is such a diverse demographic to be teaching is very exciting.”

The diversity of the student body also impacts Duffy’s teaching strategies.

“Having a bunch of different kids from different backgrounds only makes me smarter because I’m learning from them as much as they’re learning from me,” Duffy explained.

In the future, Duffy plans and hopes to stay at ETHS for a while. Additionally, she wants to continue to travel, one of her passions.

“A lot of my future is going to be travelling the world so I can teach my kids more about the world around me,” Duffy said. “I really like coming back and telling them about the experiences that I’ve had, and I feel that it only builds my credibility as a history teacher.”

Jody Elliot-Schrimmer
Even before Jody Elliot-Schrimmer was an English teacher, she always considered herself to be an educator.
“When I was in high school, I never really wanted to babysit,” Elliot-Schrimmer said. “Instead, I tutored. I would tutor students in math and in English.”

Elliot-Schrimmer originally majored in English at George Washington University and planned on studying broadcast journalism or law.

“As a part of the broadcast journalism internship I was doing, we did half of our time with ABC news in Washington D.C. and then half of our time at a high needs school teaching broadcast journalism,” Elliot-Schrimmer explained. “I ended up teaching a class and I fell in love with being in the classroom, so I decided that I wasn’t going to pursue either law school or broadcast journalism and that I wanted to teach.”

Elliot-Schrimmer received her teaching degree from Northwestern. Soon after, she landed a job at Lake Forest High School and then went back to school to get her administrator’s license at Concordia University.

Before coming to ETHS, Elliot-Schrimmer taught at Highland Park Middle School, as well as North Shore Country Day School.

“I worked in the college counseling department at North Shore Country Day School and I’ve done educational consulting, but everything was always tangentially related back to English,” Elliot-Schrimmer explained.
While Elliot-Schrimmer has accomplished a lot, she’s certainly not done yet.

“I’m in the middle of working on my doctorate through DePaul University, and I always thought that once I did that I’d want to go into administration,” Elliot-Schrimmer said. “But the more time I spend here at ETHS, it makes me feel like I could probably be in the classroom forever.”

Monica Lani
Years before Monica Lani became a teacher, she held a job as a professional actress and earned an acting degree from Drake University.

“I have a liberal arts background,” Lani explained. “I was a professional actor for several years and that was what my undergrad was. I then developed a love for the humanities and that was how I got into teaching.”

Recently, Lani graduated with her Master’s from National Louis University, making this year her first year teaching.
“[ETHS] was one of the first schools I looked at when I first started at grad school,” Lani explained. “One of the things that caught my eye was the progressive dress code, and from there I kept researching and found that the big draw for ETHS was their emphasis on diversity and communicating and building relationships with students.”

While Lani feels that she worked hard to get to where she is, she’s thankful for the environment at ETHS.

“I cannot believe my fortune at being at a school of this caliber,” Lani said. “I can’t believe my good fortune having the students that I have, and I’m so grateful to be in an environment where every teacher walks into my room every day and asks me how they can help.”

In the future, Lani plans to continue teaching, as it’s where she’s happiest.

“What I do hope to do is take a larger role in the liberal arts community at Evanston and to be a part of more groups. I just want to be a bigger part of the school culture,” Lani said.