Posts Tagged: Teacher Leadership

In the Classroom Leadership
It Is Imperative for My Students to Be Global Citizens
February 15, 2018
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It Is Imperative for My Students to Be Global Citizens

Melissa Collins
@CollinsNBCT

The Varkey Foundation Global Teacher Prize is a $1 million award presented annually to an individual that has made a major contribution to education. This prize vets and rewards teachers around the world, with the foundational belief that educators should be recognized, highlighted, and celebrated for the work that they do for the profession.
Leadership Professional Learning
My Leadership Story
January 28, 2018
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My Leadership Story

Melissa Collins
@CollinsNBCT

I am Dr. Melissa Collins, and I am a nationally known teacher leader. I have received National Board Certification, the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science Teaching, the Horace Mann Teacher Excellence Award, West Tennessee Teacher of the Year, and was recognized as a 2018 Global Teacher Prize Finalist to name a few. I have conducted leadership and instructional workshops to inspire teacher leaders. These accomplishments have helped me to strive as a leader in and outside the classroom.  Even though I am a successful educator, I overcame many obstacles to get where I am today.
In the Classroom Leadership
For Such a Time as This
January 15, 2018
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For Such a Time as This

Mark Wittman
@wittmanmarks

As I have reflected over the past 23 years of my teaching career, the scripture “for such a time as this” seemed to be the theme of my involvement with education. It was “for such a time as this” that I made the move from western Kansas and settled in the inner city of Memphis, TN. I settled in Memphis with 9 years of teaching experience and a heart to serve the community. My willingness, skills, and passion allowed me to be instrumental in opening a Faith-Based school where I served as a kindergarten teacher. Helping open this school was just the first stepping-stone of my future in Memphis. It was the first of the many experiences that were revealing to me that I was in Memphis “for such a time as this.”
In the Classroom
Metcalf – My Story
December 2, 2017
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Metcalf – My Story

Lynnsey Metcalf
@SterchiMetcalf

Being an educator was never a question for me, I just didn’t truly know what being an educator was, until I became one!
In the Classroom Leadership
Find Your Mrs. P
October 22, 2017
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Find Your Mrs. P

Jeff Gray
@iteachushistory

My experience as a first year teacher is not unlike many others in the teaching profession. I was fresh out of school, ready to change the world. My first teaching job found me in a large southern city with a sordid, but progressive history in public education. I was assigned to teach 8th grade social studies in a large middle school located physically in a solid middle class suburb. However, our student population was anything but solid middle class. Through the then constitutional busing policy, our student population was majority minority with a high percentage of free and reduced lunch. Our faculty was full of “newbies” just like me, trying to change the world.
Leadership Policy Professional Learning
Get Caught in the “Web” of Teacher Leadership
August 29, 2017
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Get Caught in the “Web” of Teacher Leadership

Maureen Henderson
@MaureenHender18

Imagine a spider spinning a web.  It begins with individual fibers, then works to strengthen them, carefully finishing with their connection.   Across the state of Tennessee there are many strands of teacher leadership being spun.  Amazing initiatives and programs have been put in place to reinforce them.  What does it look like when these pieces are woven together to create a strong, powerful design?
Leadership Policy Professional Learning
Once a Fellow, Always a Fellow
June 22, 2017
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Once a Fellow, Always a Fellow

Diarese George
@DiareseGeorge

What’s my next move? What are my options? Are there opportunities for growth beyond the classroom? In the classroom? This time last year, these were questions that I had asked myself. At the time, I had just completed my fourth academic year of teaching and wondered what my professional trajectory looked like in the coming years. I transitioned into education after working in business for six years after college. In business, there was always an understanding that if you came into an entry-level role, depending on the company, you should be preparing for upward mobility within 2-3 years. Having surpassed that timeframe in the classroom, I was anxious to see what my next steps in the profession would be. That’s when I came across teacher education fellowship opportunities after reading Commissioner McQueen’s monthly Educator Update. (See past updates and sign up to receive them here.)

I decided to apply to Hope Street Group’s State Teacher Fellowship, the State Collaborative on Reforming Education’s Tennessee Educator Fellowship, and Education Pioneers Summer Fellowship. I was surprised to be accepted to each of them! At the conclusion of this year, I have completed each fellowship. Reflecting on them, I see they each offered unique experiences that have equipped me to be a better educator.

My Education Pioneers Fellowship placed me at the Tennessee Department of Education in the Office of Licensure and Educator Preparation. Last summer I worked on a project that explored the opportunities and challenges of school districts collaborating with education preparation programs to create partnerships. Working at this level helped me to see education from a broader lens, especially regarding an initiative like that. That experience helped me to reframe my thought process and view situations from different perspectives. It also gave me access to executive directors across various departments, professional development with the Commissioner, and a chance to view the Department’s five Education Priorities at work in real time.

I participated in both the Hope Street Group and SCORE Fellowships at the same time during the 2016-2017 academic year. The Hope Street Group Fellowship connected me with other teachers and local and national policymakers to give feedback on critical education policy issues, while serving as a spokesperson for positive change in the profession. I also was able to provide feedback to the Department of Education regarding professional development, chronic absenteeism, and RTI2. Additionally, Fellows convened throughout the year to receive advocacy training to aid in our roles. Three of the most helpful things that I learned are how to utilize Twitter for professional development, how to participate in and host Twitter chats, and how to conduct a meaningful focus group.

The SCORE Fellowship selects teacher leaders from across the state to train them to advocate and elevate their voices to support and advance student-focused education policy. SCORE provided the historical context of education policy in Tennessee, including where the state started and how it became the fastest improving in the country. This Fellowship connected me with key individuals and policymakers who played a role in the state’s improvement. It also equipped and empowered me to lead my own advocacy project, which centered on supporting educators of color in Tennessee. SCORE convened Fellows four times throughout the year to provide both advocacy training to support our projects and opportunities to meet key stakeholders, including Commissioner McQueen, executive directors from national education reform organizations, state legislators, and gubernatorial candidates.

My participation in each one of these fellowships has left me feeling enlightened, equipped, and energized to continue to engage in the policy work that I have begun. As my fellowships concluded, I remind myself that the work is just starting. We need more educators involved in education policy and engaging policymakers. When highly effective educators inform and shape education policies based on their practical knowledge and experience of excellent teaching and learning, the results are better for students. I highly recommend any of these fellowships to any educator who is looking to advocate on behalf of students and make an impact in the policy space. Each one of these fellowships proclaim once a Fellow, always a Fellow. For that, I will forever be connected to these organizations, their ongoing work, and the future Fellows who participate in them.

Diarese has taught Business courses at Clarksville High School for the past three years. In that time, he has served as a lead instructor for the school’s career Academy, member of the Instructional Leadership Team and an Academy lead in cross­-curricular collaboration for project­-based learning. He is a graduate of his district’s Leadership Development course, and a district­-wide Professional Development facilitator for Microsoft Excel training. Diarese holds a BBA in Marketing and Management and M.A. in Corporation Communications from Austin Peay State University, MBA from University of Phoenix and an Ed.D. in Leadership and Professional Practice from Trevecca Nazarene University. He also serves as a Hope Street Group Tennessee Teacher Fellow, engaging his colleagues in providing classroom feedback to the Tennessee Department of Education on public education policy issues.

Leadership Policy Professional Learning
Finding Your Teacher Voice
June 16, 2017
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Finding Your Teacher Voice

Hayley Cloud
@hcloud_tn

Ibegan holding adult conversations at a very early age. My vocabulary was well beyond my years, and I could hold a conversation with almost anyone who would listen, no matter the individual’s age, gender, or appearance. I wasn’t picky. Looking back, I’m sure the duration of my conversations sometimes reached the level of annoyance. I know my audience must have thought after a while,  “How do I get her to stop? How much more can I take?” Let’s just say that I have always had a voice, and it was a pretty strong one. I never had trouble finding my voice—until I became a teacher.
Leadership Policy
Educators of Color Need More Support
December 31, 2016
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Educators of Color Need More Support

Dr. Diarese George
@DiareseGeorge

As an educator of color, especially a male, sometimes I feel like I am on an island waiting to see the next educator of color like me.  I teach at a high school where I am the only male African American educator among six other educators of color on the staff.  After participating in three different educator fellowships, I realize that the experiences of being in the classroom and participating in a teacher leadership resemble one another:  there aren’t many educators of color in either.  That’s not to say that there aren’t any in the education profession because there are.  However, at times when there needs to be a collective body or voice present for educators of color, it is lacking, specifically in areas regarding policy and advocacy.

There are several organizations that advocate for increasing the diversity pipeline of educators in Tennessee. However, there are few that explicitly support educators of color.  With the increasing number of diverse students in the state, it is important to identify issues that educators of color face in the profession and provide support, resources, and solutions so that they can remain in the profession.   The Tennessee Educators of Color Alliance (TECA) fills this void.  This is an organization that I am developing aimed at amplifying the voice, presence, and support for educators of color while remaining student-centered and solutions-oriented.  Through this approach, it is desired that educators of color will increase in recruitment numbers, leadership roles, and recognition while producing positive learning outcomes for all Tennessee students.

One of the current primary initiatives is to establish a teacher leadership council of educators of color who represent diverse backgrounds and regional locations in Tennessee.  This council will be charged with identifying problems affecting educators of color and the students they serve.  Additionally, it will be developing solutions and resources, identifying organizations and current work to align with and support, and advocating for increased understanding of cultural perspective between educators of color and all Tennessee students.  A near future initiative is to establish the Educators of Color Leadership Conference, which will provide an opportunity for educators of color to convene and discuss solutions to issues that trouble the profession, acquire professional development, and receive resources for further support.

If you are interesting in getting more information about TECA or how to support its efforts, please feel free to contact me at diarese@tneca.org.  

Diarese has taught Business courses at Clarksville High School for the past three years. In that time, he has served as a lead instructor for the school’s career Academy, member of the Instructional Leadership Team and an Academy lead in cross­-curricular collaboration for project­-based learning. He is a graduate of his district’s Leadership Development course, and a district­-wide Professional Development facilitator for Microsoft Excel training. Diarese holds a BBA in Marketing and Management and M.A. in Corporation Communications from Austin Peay State University, MBA from University of Phoenix and an Ed.D. in Leadership and Professional Practice from Trevecca Nazarene University. He also serves as a Hope Street Group Tennessee Teacher Fellow, engaging his colleagues in providing classroom feedback to the Tennessee Department of Education on public education policy issues.

Leadership
Part of the Tribe
December 14, 2016
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Part of the Tribe

Amanda Arnold
@Amanda_Arnold77

Andrew Carnegie once said, “Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision.  The ability to direct individual accomplishment toward organizational objectives.  It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results.”  Academic success for any student requires a team of accomplished educationalists, working towards a clearly defined vision, using needs based, data-driven interventions to achieve measurable goals.

“One Tribe” is our school’s motto. Our team is a tribe. Merriam-Webster defines a tribe as:

1a :  a social group comprising numerous families, clans, or generations…
2 :  a group of persons having a common character, occupation, or interest

A tribe works together in an organized fashion, as a team, to achieve common interests or goals. Teamwork has a lot to do with successful students.

Academic success for any student requires a tribe of educationalists, community members, parents, and staff working towards a clearly defined vision with measurable goals and needs based, data-driven, interventions. District-wide guiding tenets and state standards serve as a foundation to help schools and communities build and modify collaborative processes to address demonstrated needs.

An important term is “demonstrated needs,” which vary from student to student.  Every day schools are addressing needs from academic to socio-emotional. Every day it takes a tribe of people to recognize, address, and meet those needs so students can experience success.  Success is not equal for all students. Every educator knows that some students have more barriers to overcome. It takes a tribe to remove these barriers or at least make them manageable for the students in the tribe.

Every single person in the school is part of the tribe, but the tribe extends beyond the school. The tribe extends into the community, into homes, and across the state. The legislature is passing the communal law for the tribe, so educators need to exercise their voices. Educators need to answer all of those surveys we get every year. The tribe has to have clear communication. It’s hard to design a well-orchestrated plan of success if the parts of the whole are not communicating. Communication has to be clear among legislators, schools, parents, and students.

All students can be successful when student success is addressed collaboratively. As Andrew Carnegie said, “Teamwork… is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results.” Amazing things happen when everyone works towards a common, well designed vision to provide ALL students with a world-class and student-focused education. It’s great to be part of the tribe.

Amanda has taught English at Dobyns­ Bennett High School for the past five years. In that time, Amanda has served as the English 9 Co­Taught Team Leader, English 10 Co­Taught Team Leader, Co­President of the Alpha Zeta Chapter of Alpha Delta Kappa International Honor Society for Women Educators and on the Tennessee Digital Learning Team. Throughout her career she has served as a school­-wide Title I coordinator, school-­level testing coordinator and 21st Century Community Learning Centers grant coordinator. She holds a Bachelors and Masters degree from East Tennessee State University. In 2010, she earned an Educational Specialist degree in Instruction and Curriculum Leadership from Lincoln Memorial University. She also serves as a Hope Street Group Tennessee Teacher Fellow, engaging her colleagues in providing classroom feedback to the Tennessee Department of Education on public education policy issues.