Gloria West Harper
“In a completely rational society, the best of us would be teachers and the rest of us would have to settle for something else,” these words of Lee Iacocca have shaped Ms. West Harper’s life and career. A dedicate and compassionate educator, leader, and advocate for individuals with special needs, she has built a legacy working diligently to significantly enhance the daily lives of diverse groups of students and assisting less fortunate individuals receive the best possible treatment for their addictions to drugs and alcohol. An Independent Contractor mentoring first and second year educators, Gloria West Harper retired in 2017 as Chief Program and Academy Officer from the Golden Apple Foundation, a post she held for 11 years. While in the role, she was nominated and became a finalist for the Golden Apple Award for Excellence in Education in 1992. During her tenure, she led a dedicated and caring team of professionals of the Awards Selection Committee; and also dedicated her service, knowledge and skills working with the Golden Apple Academy of Educators, as well as the Golden Apple Scholars of Illinois teaching a College Success course.
Following 17 years as a successful Science Teacher, Dean of Students, Dean of Multicultural Affairs, Dorm Head/Faculty, and Coach at Lake Forest Academy, she joined the Academy faculty in 1989 looking for a diverse environment that focused on diversity, globalism and pluralism. While there she taught Freshman Physics, Current Issues In Science, Advanced Placement Biology, and Anatomy and Physiology. Prior to joining to the Academy, she taught in Chicago Public Schools systems, where she began her career as a Science Teacher, previous to that a Teacher’s Assistant with the University of Illinois, Urbana, and on to Biology Instructor at Phillips Academy, Andover Massachusetts.She presently serves as the Chair of the Board of Directors for Above and Beyond Family Recovery Center, which helps vulnerable individuals in crisis receive the best possible treatment to address their drug and alcohol dependence, while integrating life skills, housing and employment. She also serves on the Board of Directors for The Winston Knolls Education Group School for students on the autism spectrum in Hoffman Estates. She is a Life Trustee at Lake Forest Academy, and a past member of the Global Youth Leadership Institute Board. She is a nationally-recognized leader in equity and justice initiatives and a highly respected educator with more than 30 years’ experience. Ms. West Harper received her B.A. in chemistry from the University of Minnesota at Moorhead, M.A. in Natural Science from Chicago State University, education certificate at Loyola University, and worked toward her PhD/MD at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. She has been lauded and honored for her years of dedicated service, including University of Chicago Outstanding High School Teacher, Kohl Foundation for Excellence in Teaching Award, Corbin Endowed Chair Recipient, National Institute of Health Fellowship, residential Award for Excellent in Science Nominee, CPS District 4 Teacher of the Year and Illinois Institute of Technology Award.