Northbrook Junior HS teacher named Illinois Health Educator of the Year

Northbrook District 28 officials say Wendy Concklin is considered the health guru at Northbrook Junior High School.

Concklin has been instrumental in crafting a unique student health curriculum from scratch since 2004 and she continuously updates her lessons, according to a news release.

The Illinois School Health Association recently selected Concklin as the Illinois School Health Educator of the Year, the release said. This recognition comes on the heels of the Illinois Association of Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance recognizing Northbrook Junior High as a Blue Ribbon Health School, for the second time in 15 years.

Concklin’s work benefits each of the school’s over 600 students who spend a nine-week quarter with her every year, navigating important topics that will shape their health and wellness decisions for years to come, the release said.

“I’m very grateful that I work in a school and in a district that places a high value on the health and well-being of the students and staff,” Concklin said.  “I feel fortunate to have been trusted to develop a curriculum that meets the Health Education standards in a way that works for me and our kids.”

Her classes, “Quest for Health, Wellness and Fitness” launched in 2004 after a two-year district-wide committee researched the topic, according to the release. Concklin applied her knowledge as a science teacher and her lifelong interest in psychology and human behavior when she became the course teacher.

From drug abuse to balanced diets to peer pressure and sexuality, Concklin focused on the knowledge and skills students need to encourage better physical, social, and mental/emotional health, the release said. She continually refines the course lessons and resources, a testament to her commitment to the content.

“I try to choose content and lessons that I think will meet my students’ needs,” Concklin said. “I hope that they find value in what they’re learning.  I have created a fair amount of our health curricular materials from scratch over the years, but I’ve also had the benefit of finding awesome lessons online that are put out by teen health-focused organizations (like Erika’s Lighthouse, OneLove,, the Truth Initiative, etc).”

Alex Simko, ISHA Past President, writes that Concklin’s reputation as an outstanding mentor and educator is an example of her continued dedication to her students and community.

Northbrook Junior High Principal Scott Meek also commends her work.

“We are thrilled Wendy is being recognized for her outstanding contributions to the field of health education. NBJH has been blessed to have Ms. Concklin lead our health program for the past two decades. She has such a deep commitment to improving the physical and mental health of her students, and it shows in her work each and every day,” Meek said.

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