Eva Helwing: a true educator

In all the storm and stress about schools these days, it helps to be reminded what a real educator can do. The life of Eva Helwing, who died last week, provides just such an illustration.

Mrs. Helwing was the first principal of Inter-American Magnet School, which pioneered dual language education in Chicago. IAMS was also an incubator for the kind of strong parent-teacher partnership that informed the 1987 school reform legislation in Illinois. Several founders of PURE, including Joy and Bernie Noven, Adela Coronado-Greeley, and Janet Nolan were either parents or teachers who designed IAMS and hired Mrs. Helwing to run it.

“As principal, she led by consensus,” said her husband of 48 years, Arthur, a retired high school teacher. “She did not use the word ‘I.’ She’d say ‘we’ whenever she spoke of her work at the school.”

Mrs. Helwing was laid to rest Saturday. The family asks that donations be made in Eva’s memory to NABE, the National Association for Bilingual Education, 8701 Georgia Avenue, Suite 611, Silver Spring, MD 20910. Please make a note of Eva’s name on any donations.

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About the PURE Thoughts blogger
Julie Woestehoff is PURE's executive director. Julie's work has earned her a Ford Foundation award and recognition as one of the 100 Most Powerful Women in Chicago.