An English teacher at Dwight D. Eisenhower High School in Blue Island, District 218, has been selected by the Illinois Education Association (IEA) as the recipient of its 2017 Reg Weaver Human and Civil Rights Award.

Gladys Marquez was recognized for the honor on Thursday at the annual Representative Assembly of the IEA. Some 1,200 delegates, guests and state dignitaries attended the event at the Sheraton Grand Chicago.

“Gladys Marquez is a first-rate educator and an inspiration to us all,” said IEA President Cinda Klickna. “She is dedicated to her students and her community.  She’s done so much to keep families together, to fight against unfair deportations, to provide safe and nurturing environments for all students. Teachers like Gladys make us all proud to be educators.”

Marquez is in her 15th year as a teacher in the district.

The IEA Reg Weaver Human and Civil Rights Award is one of the association’s highest honors for a member. The awards committee cited Marquez in particular for her efforts to educate her community on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) immigration policies. Marquez sought and received financial grants to conduct educational clinics to assist families in understanding and utilizing the DACA policies enacted under the Obama administration. DACA is the program allowing certain undocumented students and others to stay in the U.S. and avoid deportation. The clinics provide assistance to those students and others known as “Dreamers,” helping them and their families to stay together.

The Reg Weaver Human and Civil Rights Award is named after the former president of the IEA and the National Education Association, Reg Weaver. The IEA is the state’s largest organization of school employees, representing more than 135,000 members.