About Me

Hello, I'm Erik Czerwin...

I'm a teacher, tutor, coach, husband, father, chess fanatic, and I wear many other hats...  I work constantly to improve myself, my family, and my community.  I believe that hard work and positive action lead to success and satisfaction; to that end, I pursue my interests relentlessly.

I have a passion for education, for reading instruction, for writing instruction, and for chess instruction. Education is one of the greatest benefits and necessities of a free, democratic society, and I am honored to be a part of it.  I've been a public school teacher in Illinois since the fall of 2005. I began teaching Language Arts at Washington Gifted School in Peoria, IL, and regrettably had to change locations due to school closings. I then taught English at Woodruff and moved locations again after my first son was born. I thoroughly enjoyed my next 5 years teaching writing and honors English at Marengo HS. After completing my Masters in Reading Instruction, I began teaching literacy intervention classes at Guilford High School. After 3 years of teaching all Literacy classes, I transitioned back into regular class by teaching English 12 and ACT Prep.  Currently, I teach AP Literature & Composition and Co-Taught English 12.  My complete work history can be found here.

As a teacher, I've also had the opportunity to teach and coach chess every year. I helped to coach the 2011-12 Marengo team to their school's first Illinois Division 1A chess team championship. The Guilford Chess Team is currently growing, and we hope to achieve the same success. I enjoy playing in tournaments when I have the time, and I currently have an instructional chess book published by Everyman Chess; it is titled Chess Progress: From Beginner to Winner and it was released in September, 2014.  In April of 2017, I founded Rock River Chess as a formal USCF Affiliate to help grow chess in the Rock River area.  Rock River Chess runs chess booths/tents at area activities, advocates for chess in the community, teaches chess lessons, and runs chess tournaments throughout the state.  My complete chess accomplishments and work can be found here.

I'm constantly doing something, anything; I rarely sit still.  In addition to my teaching work, I devote countless hours to serving the Illinois Chess Coaches Association, the Northern Illinois Chess League, and other community organizations.  When I'm not working or serving, I spend much of my free time building and flying model and high-power rockets.  Information about my rocketry hobby can be found here.

As a daily writer, I've found a new love of stationery...  I've discovered the whole subculture around fountain pens and related stationery products, and I feel like I've found friends I always knew were out there.  I'm building a small collection of pens and inks.  I love the gadgetry, the fidgeting aspect of fountain pens.  It gives me something to work on, to elevate my writing utensils above the ordinary.  With very little luxury in my life, every time I write with excellent pens or paper, I feel a sense of luxury in this usually mundane task.

Finally, I believe in civic engagement, and I do that by working with community organizations and engaging with the city government as often as possible.

My family...

In 2005, I was married to my college sweetheart, Tiffany.  We had met in college and dated long-distance for 4 years before finally tying the knot one month after I graduated from college.  Together, we moved to Peoria, IL, to begin our family.  After working in Peoria for two years, we moved to Rockford, IL, to be closer to our families where we currently reside.  Our oldest child, Nathan, was born in 2006, and our daughter, Joanna, was born in 2008; in 2016, we were blessed with our second son, Roland.  As a family, we enjoy outdoor family activities such as camping and rocketry, and indoor activities such as board games, riddling, and podcasts.