Helen Brandon is a 2019-20 Teach Plus Illinois ILSTOY Policy Fellow and a 2020 Illinois Teacher of the Year Finalist. Helen teaches 6th grade math and science, and provides ESL services at Bloomington Junior High School, where she is also a team leader and science department chair. She has been involved in multiple grants focusing on writing NGSS (Next Generation Science Standards)-aligned units for the region and state, leads professional development experiences with STEM and NGSS, and she has been a curriculum writer and director for STEM camps and other STEM experiences. She nominated for the “Women Who Excel in STEM Teaching” award and studied education in Mexico as part of a Fulbright scholarship. She has worked to create equitable experiences for all students by writing curriculum for bilingual learners, working to pass a welcoming school resolution in her district, and establishing a welcome closet to provide supplies for recent immigrants. She graduated from Bethel College (Kansas) with a BA in education and received her MS in Teaching and Learning from Illinois State University. She is currently working toward her EdD in Teaching and Learning from Illinois State University with a focus on STEM education and culturally and linguistically diverse students.