JTHS Alumni Spotlight #InspiretoAspire: Natalie Coleman, Joliet Central Class of 1997

NColeman.jpgCareer & Education At-a-Glance

  • University of Illinois Urbana Champaign, Bachelor’s degree in Liberal Arts & Science
  • Governors State University, Bachelor of Science in Chemistry with Honors
  • Governors State University, Master’s degree in Educational Administration


Natalie Coleman, Joliet Central Class of 1997, has always loved learning and working with people, which inspired her to pursue a career in education administration. In this career, Coleman has made a valuable difference in the education of countless students by using her strengths of compassion, intelligence, and leadership on a daily basis.

Her love for education started early as she began her journey at Edna Keith Elementary school and continued on to Washington Jr. High. That love for education, as well as the support of inspirational teachers and staff, helped her aspire and achieve her potential academically and beyond.

While at Joliet Central High School, Coleman strived to become the best she could be by getting involved in a variety of activities. She fondly recalls working as a student news anchor for the SNN student news. She also thoroughly enjoyed participating in the girls’ basketball team and being selected as a member of the prestigious National Honor Society.

When asked about her biggest inspirations throughout her time within Joliet Central’s walls, she said, “The teachers that inspired me were my English teachers, Ms. Vaughn and Mr. Riley; my Physics teacher, Mr. Blunk; and my Science teacher, Mr. Juarez. They each challenged me and expected nothing less than excellence from me.”

Coleman attended the University of Illinois in Urbana Champaign where she received a Bachelor’s degree in the Liberal Arts and Sciences. She then attended Governors State University where she obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry with Honors and a Masters of Art degree in Educational Administration. Coleman also served for over 13 years in the Illinois Army National Guard.

As the Coordinator for Science and Social Science, she is responsible for professional development, curriculum writing, assessment development and extended STEM learning opportunities for students.

She is also currently attending the University of Illinois in pursuit of her Educational Doctorate.

Furthermore, Coleman continues to be recognized for her positive involvement beyond her typical job duties. For example, she was selected for the TED-Ed Innovative Educator program, a year-long professional development program that connects outstanding educators in K-12, university and non-traditional educational environments around the globe. Additionally, Coleman has served as a Mentor at the SXSWedu® Conference & Festival, which fosters innovation in learning by hosting a diverse and energetic community of stakeholders across a variety of backgrounds in education.

She is also a talk radio show host on WJOL 1340 in Joliet Illinois where she inspires the community every Sunday morning on her show Lean into Inspiration. Natalie's future endeavors include establishing a non-profit and continuing her contributions to scholarships to assist students in the efforts to further their education.

When asked what advice she would give to students today, she quoted Maya Angelou and said, “All great achievements require time.”

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