Spotlight on School District 428: Brad Vest

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Brad Vest and family; all three Barbs!

Teacher Name: Brad Vest

Grade/Subject: 12th Grade Humanities

Tell us a little about yourself – your hometown, education, and hobbies.

I’ve lived in ten different states but have chosen to make DeKalb my hometown. I graduated from Purdue University and then earned my MA in Literature from NIU.

What do you love about teaching for District 428?

While getting my MA I subbed in the district and fell in love with the people. I student taught at the old DeKalb High School with Kevin Beverley and enjoyed the curriculum and community enough that I turned down several offers just hoping to catch on. Once I did, I met my future wife while she subbed in my classroom and she too has become a DHS teacher. Finally, my son is a proud DeKalb resident and attends Lincoln. There will be a day when both my wife and I are teaching at DHS and we get to see our son graduate from DHS. The high school really is about community, compassion and success.

How do you uniquely engage your students to embrace Humanities and generate excitement for learning?

I engage the students both through humor and making a subject that may not always seem relevant be relevant to their lives and futures. Few of our kids will become English majors (a good thing for their bank accounts!) but they will be leaders and decision-makers and my focus is always on developing the skills to critically analyze any situation and make a logical decision based on the evidence available.

What is the #1 reason why you are proud to be a teacher in DeKalb Schools?

The community, easily. This community stepped up at a difficult financial time and pledged their support and optimism to the future of the kids in the community. They pack the house for football games, are amazingly involved in the arts and overall, support a better future for all of the kids in DeKalb.

What piece of advice would you give your students as they grow beyond DeKalb High School?

Remember all of the good from your time at DHS. It’s too easy to get caught up in the negative but the best and brightest can overcome the day-to-day problems to see a bigger, brighter picture to help drive meaningful change.