A Unique Community of Volunteers

Our teachers, as well as our administrative team and board, are unpaid volunteers. Our teachers believe in teaching that is based on dialogue and that honors the experience of students as co-producers of knowledge. They use methods of popular education to engage a process that leads to collaborative learning.

We are sociologists, linguists, historians, writers, engineers, architects, scientists, community organizers, musicians, poets, artists, philosophers, psychologists, mathematicians, high school and college teachers, IT professionals, nurses, and public health doctors (over 30 faculty) who are inspired by our students’ commitment to the program and to each other.

Some of our graduates come back as volunteer co-instructors.

Some members of our wonderful volunteer Board of Directors also teach in the school.

To say we are a not-for-profit program is an understatement. We are a unique and creative team!

Teaching at Dorothy Stang is the kind of teaching to which all teachers aspire. It is teaching where the learning is led by learners who are interested, engaged, and invested in the material being studied. It both fosters and requires creativity on the part of the teacher.

Robin Semer

Robin Semer

Volunteer Teacher

Environmental Engineer Robin Semer has consulted on a variety of groundwater and soil contamination jobs. She served as project manager for the Illinois Department of Transportation Air Monitoring Project and managed environmental investigations for the City of Chicago. Additionally, Robin volunteers with Engineers Without Borders in Guatemala to assist communities in the highlands in the construction of clean water systems.

Jeanette Hernández

Jeanette Hernández

Volunteer Teacher

Jeanette Hernández is a longtime peace activist and is currently involved in protecting labor rights. She holds bachelor’s degrees in sociology and philosophy as well as a master’s degree in political science. She works at Northeastern Illinois University.

Nothing that I have done has brought me such a direct feeling that another human being’s life is being positively impacted. It is not simple for me to prepare for class and I have struggled with what to do to make science class valuable to the students. I strive to balance providing information with critical thinking skills, as well as to promote class participation and learning through doing. I want to give the students experience with the scientific method, so that they can use it in their lives to answer difficult questions and to solve problems. I hope that studying science can help students differentiate between scientific theory, which can be tested, and belief, which is based on faith.” Robin Semer

“In traditional education, students are taught to look for answers or outcomes. I try to inculcate a curiosity about questions. We as a society are inquisitively determined in that we are defined by the questions we ask, as well as those we fail to ask. Our students get that, but sometimes lack the encouragement to frame their questions. I feel that my task as their social studies teacher is to help them formulate their questions and articulate those questions to the world.—Jeanette Hernández