David Feeley


ETHS teacher of 23 years David Feeley is retiring at the end of this school year. Since he was hired in 1999, Feeley has taught AP US Government, Business Law, Accounting and Personal Finance. Feeley also briefly coached the girls’ cross country team and was a sponsor of DECA for fifteen years. He was the sponsor of the investment club and the sponsor of Interact, a rotary club for high school students. In 2017, Feeley won the Teacher Excellence Award, and he  is still a part of the committee that is responsible for gifting this award to other teachers.

Before coming to ETHS, Feeley worked as a tax lawyer for two years before switching to public interest law. He spent six years working in juvenile court, representing abused and neglected children, which was where he realized that he wanted to work with kids on a more regular basis. 

Feeley’s best memory of his time at ETHS is the time that he spent with his students. 

“I really enjoy being with the kids. They provide such an extrinsic joy to me that is just invaluable,” Feeley said. 

To future teachers, Feeley’s advice is to work with the students. 

“It’s a hard job, it’s meant to be a hard job. It’s a tug of war between what you want and what the students want. This place is not an old school institution—you’ve got to be flexible; you’ve got to listen,” Feeley advised. 

As for the students, Feeley believes that the best lessons they can learn are the ones that students give. 

“Your messages are important. Be tolerant. Be compassionate. Be empathetic. Recognize that every single person has a different pair of shoes on. And I think, in general, the school body does a really good job of that. I think the school’s very welcoming to all different kinds of people,” Feeley said. 

“This is the most important thing for students: being a teenager is really difficult, and I remember it being difficult for myself. You get really stressed out by life, and you don’t have coping mechanisms. So seek help when you feel overwhelmed. Breathe. Be patient,” Feeley added. 

Additionally, Feeley advises staying civically engaged, while also maintaining the knowledge that we have survived unprecedented times before.

  “I remember the assassinations of [Robert] Kennedy and Martin Luther King well, the riots and protests of the 1970s. What I would tell people is, be involved, definitely. Do it in a way that makes you feel comfortable. But also, a lot of this stuff isn’t new. The country [and] our families have been through it before, so trust that things will work out, and don’t get obsessed with it. If you’re dealing with difficult times, read, write, walk, meditate,” Feeley said. 

After Feeley retires, he will continue doing work with DECA, helping with legal education for high school students in the Chicago area and tutoring. He also plans to spend his retirement pursuing his hobbies and passions, exercising, traveling and “just being Mr. Feeley.”