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James Crandell started his teaching career in 1979 after graduating from Illinois State University with a Bachelor’s degree in English education, getting his Master’s in 1989 from Northern Illinois University in Counseling Education. He was hired for his first teaching position in the Language Arts Department of F.E. Peacock Junior High School in Itasca, Illinois, where he taught three levels of eighth-grade English from 1979-1987. Upon “graduating” from junior high in 1987, he moved to the English Department of Hinsdale South High School in Darien, Illinois, working there for twenty-five years until his retirement in 2012 after thirty-three total years of teaching. At Hinsdale South, he taught freshmen (honors, regular, and basic), sophomores (basic), juniors (regular and basic), and seniors (Advanced Placement, expository writing, world literature, science fiction, creative writing, radio broadcasting, and mass media), as well as working in the department’s Writing Lab as a tutor for individual students. Crandell worked as a teacher advocate through the Itasca Education Association and the Hinsdale High School Teachers Association which were affiliated with the Illinois Education Association and the National Education Association. His positions included association president in both locals, grievance chair, vice president, chief spokesperson and negotiator during nine contract negotiations, in addition to editing newsletters for the two associations. He currently writes a blog for the Darien Patch and lives in Downers Grove, Illinois, with his wife, two daughters, and a Wheaten terrier.