Mt. Prospect native salutes teachers during Golden Globes speech

  • Co-creators Ryan Murphy, center, and Ian Brennan, left, accepted top comedy honors for "Glee" at the Golden Globes Sunday night.

    Co-creators Ryan Murphy, center, and Ian Brennan, left, accepted top comedy honors for "Glee" at the Golden Globes Sunday night. Courtesy of NBC

  • Best supporting actress winner Jane Lynch singled out "Glee" writer and co-creator Ian Brennan, a native of Mount Prospect, in her Golden Globes acceptance speech.

    Best supporting actress winner Jane Lynch singled out "Glee" writer and co-creator Ian Brennan, a native of Mount Prospect, in her Golden Globes acceptance speech. Courtesy of NBC

 
 
Updated 1/18/2011 7:49 AM

"Glee" writer and co-creator Ian Brennan's salute to teachers during his Golden Globes acceptance speech Sunday suggests how much the Mount Prospect native values their contributions.

"I just want to say thank you to public schoolteachers. You don't get paid like it, but you're doing the most important work in America," said the Mount Prospect native after his show -- Fox's "Glee" -- earned top TV comedy honors.

 

Brennan's admiration undoubtedly has something to do with his mother Charman, who taught public school in Ohio before joining St. Raymond School's faculty 28 years ago, and his sister Sarah, who taught at Chicago's Paul Robeson High School before she co-founded the Amandla Charter School in Chicago's Englewood neighborhood three years ago.

Neither Brennan nor his family expected "Glee" to prevail again this year at the Golden Globes, said Sarah Brennan. That coupled with Ian Brennan's kind words for educators made the win that much sweeter.

For Brennan's family, the cherry on top came courtesy of Jane Lynch, supporting actress winner for her role as "Glee's" ruthless, sharp-tongued cheerleading coach. A Dolton native, Lynch referenced their shared Chicago area roots and praised Brennan's writing talent, affectionately calling him a "deranged young man."

"Having her recognize him is a real thrill for us," said Ian's father, John Brennan, who speaks enthusiastically about both of his children's accomplishments.

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"He didn't think 'Glee' would win," John Brennan said.

That's pretty typical of Ian, whose participation in Prospect High School's show choir inspired the hit series which centers on a group of musically inclined students and their teacher.

"In high school he always said he didn't think he'd get the part and he always would," John Brennan said.

Sarah Brennan was "blown away" by her brother's kind words for teachers.

Nobody enters the profession expecting "thank-yous," she said. Still, the recognition is nice.

Prospect literature and drama teacher Jeremy Morton echoes those thoughts.

"We appreciate that our hard work is recognized," said Morton, a 10-year teaching veteran. "We're very excited for Ian and his family and for the Prospect family. We couldn't be more proud of our students, those who are in the national limelight and those who aren't."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

John Brennan says his son has often expressed his admiration for teachers and that the family considers his remarks a tribute not just to Charman and Sarah but to the teachers at Prospect, Lincoln Middle School and Fairview Elementary School, where Ian's third-grade teacher gave him his showbiz start by casting him in the Christmas play.

"He has said to me a number of times that he's impressed by the work we do and thinks it's important," said Sarah Brennan, who believes it's impossible to comprehend all that teaching involves until you do it yourself.

She remembers teasing her mom about her days off -- that is until she stepped into a classroom of her own for the first time.

"I came home from my first day of teaching and said, 'I'm so sorry I ever implied that you haven't done the most difficult thing ever,'" Brennan said.