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ESOL instructor earns state honor

Cy-Fair College's Jan Petroni Brown will be recognized at the Texas Teachers of English for Speakers of Other Languages (TexTESOL) state conference Oct. 27 as TexTESOLer of the Year.

The mission of TESOL, a professional organization that consists of all levels of teaching from elementary through higher education, is to ensure excellence in English language teaching to speakers of other languages.

The TESOLer of the Year award is given to outstanding teachers who raise the standards for professional achievement within the field. Five teachers in the organization’s five Texas regions are honored and Brown represents Region IV.

In the TexSELOR award nomination, Sharon Bippus, Cy-Fair College ESOL Faculty, wrote “Jan has high expectations for her students, and she motivates them to achieve with her caring nature and by varying the format of her classes.”

Brown, a published author/writer with work in four books and numerous magazines and newspapers throughout the country, shares her longtime passion for writing with her students.

“Writing is so much of my life that it’s something I have been able to bring in the classroom,” said this journalism graduate of the University of Montana. “I also use the classroom experiences to ‘fuel’ my writing.” 

Being honored as the TexTESOLer of the Year for Region IV is humbling, said Brown, a free lance journalist who found a second career in teaching English as a Second Language at a community college in Wyoming.

“I was hooked,” said Brown, who keeps in touch with some of her first students. “I saw that there was so much more than just teaching the English language and textbook material. They wanted and needed a safe comfortable place to practice, make mistakes and achieve.”

For the next 10 years, Brown moved throughout the United States with her oil industry husband and three children. While she has adjusted to new places like her students, she did not have the everyday challenges of a language barrier.

 “I have such great respect for my students, many of whom are successful professionals from other countries,” she said. “They are so enthusiastic and their drive is so strong. I just can’t imagine not teaching. I love it all. It’s very fulfilling.”

Brown earned certification in five different areas, including ESOL, through Cy-Fair College's Teacher’s Certification program. She has since taught six semesters at Cy-Fair College. This year, she’s taken on a Level 1 class in addition to her Level 3 intermediate class schedule.

For information on Cy-Fair College's Transitional Studies Department, go to cyfair.lonestar.edu.