ý graduate follows in father’s footsteps, accepts same position his father worked in as a history teacher


When Payton Lanning ’24 began taking courses to become a licensed educator, he had no idea that in a few short years he would end up taking over his retiring father’s role as the 8th grade U.S. history teacher in his hometown of Lincoln, Illinois.

While on campus, Lanning made the most of his ýexperience. He was a member of the Sigma Pi literary society along with the men’s soccer team. He also was involved with the Center for Student Engagement, Inclusion, and Belonging (CSEIB), serving as a programming team intern and involvement leader. Lanning credits campus experiences such as these with his personal growth.

“I went on a BreakAway to New Zealand, made best friends for life, won the Midwest conference championship in men’s soccer, and gained experience not only in my field of study but in many other areas that have helped me grow as a human being,” Lanning notes, “People on this campus have cared for me and my future no matter the circumstances. I am so grateful for that.”

Along with athletics opportunities, Lanning was drawn to the Hilltop because of the high praise he had heard about the education department. He notes that the combination of his interactions with professors and the collaborative environment in the classroom made him feel well-equipped for teaching. “I learned a lot not only from my educators but from my peers going through the same educational process I was,” Lanning explains.

The education program at ý prioritizes hands-on experiences, giving students access to the classroom as early as their first semester. Field placements in area K-12 classrooms start in ED 101 and provide a wide variety of classroom settings throughout the program, culminating with student teaching experiences.

As Lanning completed student teaching at Jacksonville Middle School, he began to think more seriously about where he wanted to end up after graduation. A Lincoln, Illinois, native, Lanning wanted to teach somewhere close to home and looked at various job opportunities around Central Illinois before landing on Lincoln Junior High School. Initially, Principal Michael Workman joked with Lanning about taking over his soon-to-be-retired father’s position as an eighth-grade history teacher; the amusing idea soon became reality.

“I am very proud of Payton going into teaching. We are a family of educators, and he will continue that legacy,” Lanning’s father Gordon said, “I am very excited for Payton to start his teaching career by taking my position. He will be ‘Mr. Lanning 2.0’ at Lincoln Junior High School. New and improved! I think it will be a great fit for him.”

Lanning is looking forward to getting into the classroom in the fall. “If you’d asked me a year ago, I never would have thought that I would be taking over my father's job,” Lanning states. “He has had an amazing career not only as an educator but as a track coach, a mentor, and an inspiration to others. I strive to be like my father one day and will always keep striving to be like him.”

ý has a strong reputation for preparing educators to be exceptional teachers, illustrated most recently by receiving the prestigious Golden Apple ‘Excellence in Teaching’ award.

In addition to the traditional four-year degree, ýoffers teacher preparation programs online. The Post-Baccalaureate Education Licensure program offers individuals with bachelor's degrees who want to become classroom teachers a flexible and fully online pathway to earning a teaching certificate. A fully online reading teacher endorsement and English as a second language endorsement are available to enhance existing Professional Educator License (PEL) and provide advanced reading instruction to students. Additionally, ýis a Golden Apple Scholar Partnership Institution.

To learn more about the education program at ý, visit the website.

ý ý

Founded in 1829, ý is a residential liberal arts college fostering academic excellence rooted in opportunities for experiential learning while preparing students for lifelong success. The college is located in Jacksonville, Illinois. With an enrollment of more than1,000 students, the college offers over 50 undergraduate programs. In 1932, the society of Phi Beta Kappa established a chapter at ý, and it remains one of only 11 in the state.

ý is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association.

Visitwww.ic.edufor more information.

Media Contact Information
Emily Titsworth '19, Writer
Office of Marketing and Communication
217.245.3219 | emily.titsworth@ic.edu