Crystal Marie Cherry

Title: Chaplain & Mentoring and Education Chair
Company: Chicago Central Section, National Council of Negro Women
Location: Chicago, Illinois, United States

Crystal Cherry, Chaplain, Mentoring and Education Chair at National Council of Negro Women Chicago Central Section, has been recognized by Marquis Who’s Who Top Executives for dedication, achievements, and leadership in religious service, education and mentoring.

Ms. Cherry initially obtained a Bachelor of Science in elementary education in 1974 from Northern Illinois University in DeKalb and later continued her education with a Master of Science in curriculum and instruction from Chicago State University in 1992. She subsequently provided superior education as a teacher and educational administrator in the Chicago Public Schools for most of the following three decades.

Ms. Cherry excelled as a fifth and sixth-grade teacher with the William K. Sullivan Elementary from 1974 to 1980, and then taught departmental math, science, social studies, and art for sixth to eighth grade students in the Ninos Heroes Elementary School from 1980 to 2002. She then found much success as a National Board for Professional Teaching Standards Reading Mentor and Consultant from 2002-2010, during which time she also served as a reading coordinator, with the Chicago Public Schools’ Office of Reading from 2002 to 2004 and as a fifth and seventh grade teacher, and later taught departmental math and social studies with George Washington Elementary School from 2004 to 2010.

Since 2015, as a director with Aiming for Success, Southlawn United Methodist Church’s After School Program, Ms. Cherry designs and conducts workshops on character education and the After School Program Core Curriculum in which she tutors students in grades two through seven. In addition, she recruits teachers and students for the program.  

As a chaplain and mentoring and education chair with the National Council of Negro Women Chicago Central Section since 2011, Ms. Cherry provides emotional and spiritual support to women and their families and writes resolutions and orders flowers if there is a death in a family. Due to the pandemic, she has not been able to make in-person visits so she sends words of encouragement via text, email or telephone.

During her educational career, Ms. Cherry has garnered numerous honors that include Woman of the Year from the National Council of Negro Women Chicago Central Section; Excellence in Teaching Award from George Washington Elementary School; Teacher of the Year Award from Eastside Chamber of Commerce; Honorable Mention for Teaching Mathematics from the Illinois Council of Teachers of Mathematics; Principal’s Award for Achievement in Reading and Mathematics; and she was a multi-year recipient of the Oppenheimer Family Foundation Teacher Incentive Grant. Her professional memberships include the American Association of University Women, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

Ms. Cherry was paralyzed as a child due to polio, although she became able to walk after childhood. Also a cancer survivor, she spent 37 years as a teacher until an illness forced her to retire, which she says was the saddest moment of her life. Counting as her most notable achievement being named one of Chicago’s first teachers to be certified by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards in 2002, Ms. Cherry attributes her success to her love of working with young people, especially when she sees the joy in their eyes when they understand new ideas. She became a chaplain after higher-ups recognized her ability to provide emotional and spiritual support to others, either in an individual or group setting. 

Ms. Cherry’s goal in the coming years is to write a book of poetry because she really loves both reading and writing poetry. She also wants to re-establish the afterschool program at her church while encouraging more church members to participate in existing mentoring groups.

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