Three New Cohorts of Highly Effective Educators Will Focus on School, District, and State-Level Issues and Policies, from Emergent Bilingual Support to Ensuring Inclusive Early Childhood Education
Sacramento, California, October 13, 2023—Teach Plus, a national teacher leadership organization, has launched three new cohorts of educators from across the state to advocate for and drive positive change at all levels of California’s education system, from state-level legislation to policy implementation in schools and districts. The three cohorts, which in total include 48 California educators, are the Teach Plus California Policy Fellowship, the Emergent Bilingual Change Agent Network (EBCAN), and the Los Angeles Emergent Bilingual Change Agent Network. Together, these teacher leaders will work on a gamut of issues that matter to California’s teachers, students, and families, including support for California’s emergent bilingual students, access to effective early childhood education and high quality instructional materials, recruitment and retention of a diverse teaching force, and more.
“As California seeks to transform its school systems to address the overwhelming challenges faced by students, it is essential that outstanding, equity-minded, solutions–oriented teachers are given the opportunity to help set the path for reimagining and implementing an education system that puts students at the center. I am thrilled that with the combination of teachers advancing policy change through the policy fellowship and implementing school-based change efforts through the Emergent Bilingual Change Agent Networks, Teach Plus is positioning California’s best and brightest teachers to create the schools our students need to achieve their promise,” said Teach Plus California Executive Director Sarah Lillis.
“The Teach Plus programs work in tandem to give teacher leaders like me the tools and the reach to advocate for and grow opportunities for our most marginalized students,” said Angela Wright who teaches in Azusa Unified and is a 2023-2024 Teach Plus California Policy Fellow. “As a Teach Plus Bilingual Change Agent, I was focused on ensuring that the English Learner Roadmap is implemented with fidelity in my school and district. As a Teach Plus Policy Fellow, I hope to bring greater awareness to the EL Roadmap statewide and to ensure that there is accountability in the system when it comes to the needs of our English Learners.”
Teach Plus California Policy Fellowship
The 2023-2024 Teach Plus California Policy Fellows will focus on advocating for state-level policies that better support California’s emergent bilingual students, provide the state’s youngest learners with effective early childhood education, guarantee every student access to high-quality culturally relevant instructional materials, and prepare and sustain a diverse teaching force for California’s students.
The Fellows will build on the work of the previous cohorts of Teach Plus California teacher leaders who have advocated to ensure that all students in California are taught using high-quality, comprehensive, accurate, and culturally relevant instructional materials; supported the needs of newcomer, immigrant, and refugee students historically underserved in California’s K-12 system; and worked on a legislative solution to prohibit the use of suspensions and expulsions.
“As an early childhood educator who focuses on students with special needs, I start working with children as soon as they get their first IEP. Many of my students are three years old and non-verbal. As a Teach Plus Policy Fellow, I want to be the change and the voice for all the children who are not yet able to advocate for themselves,” said Anthony Segura who teaches in San Jacinto and is a 2023-2024 Teach Plus California Policy Fellow.
The 2023-2024 California Policy Fellows are:
- Jose Arriaga, Lockwood STEAM Academy Elementary School, Oakland Unified School District
- Amber Bradley, River City High School, Washington Unified School District
- Amanda Chiatovich Cloutier, Pinon Mesa Middle School, Snowline Joint Unified School District
- Krystle Goff, 112 Street Elementary School, Los Angeles Unified School District
- Teresa Hanson, ICEF Inglewood Elementary Charter Academy, Los Angeles Unified School District
- Olivia Hart, San Bernardino City Unified School District
- Taica Hsu, Mission High School, San Francisco Unified School District
- Sara Juarez-Mendoza, Alliance Margaret M. Bloomfield High School, Los Angeles Unified School District
- Katherine Larson, Bella Vista Middle School, Temecula Valley Unified School District
- Anaité Letona, Harvest Park Middle School, Pleasanton Unified School District
- Eric Lewis, Dr Martin Luther King Jr Middle School, San Francisco Unified School District
- Mary Lopez, Riverbank High School, Riverbank Unified School District
- Rebecca Pariso, EO Green Junior High School, Hueneme Elementary School District
- Tammy Pham, Environmental Charter Middle Schools, Los Angeles Unified School District
- Jillian Salazar, Tierrasanta Elementary School, San Diego Unified School District
- Anthony Segura, Hyatt Elementary School, San Jacinto Unified School District
- Alicia Simba, Prescott Elementary School, Oakland Unified School District
- Rebecca Vallejo, Hiram W. Johnson High School, Sacramento City Unified School District
- Angela Wright, Azusa Unified School District
- Omar Zamarripa, Port of Los Angeles High School, Los Angeles Unified School District
The 2023-2024 California Senior Policy Fellows are:
- Lorena Ellis, Gladstone Middle School, Azusa Unified School District
- Jackie Gardner, North Mountain Middle School, San Jacinto Unified School District
- Joshua Salas, Alliance Renee & Meyer Luskin Academy, Alliance College-Ready Public Schools
- Wendy Threatt, Felicita Elementary School, Escondido Union School District
- Allison Zamora, Bear Valley Middle School, Escondido Union School District
California Emergent Bilingual Change Agent Network
The educators in the 2023-2024 California Emergent Bilingual Change Agent Network will lead 15 projects aimed at site-based changes to close opportunity gaps of emergent bilingual students, while bringing awareness to the California English Learner Roadmap. The first two cohorts gathered quantitative and qualitative data that found many of California’s educators are unaware of the roadmap. There are more than 1.1 million California students categorized as English Learners.
“I applied to EBCAN because it’s a network that trains and supports teachers to become transformational leaders. EBCAN offers the opportunity to support my development in order to make an impact on a community that is important to me,” said Suly Hilario, a 4th-grade teacher in Huntington Park and 2023-2024 California Emergent Bilingual Change Agent.
The 2023-2024 California Emergent Bilingual Change Agents are:
- Justin Cohea, Grace M. Davis High School, Modesto City Schools
- Michelle Hesse, Knox Middle School, San Diego Unified School District
- Ana Elias-Morales, Edison High School, Fresno Unified School District
- Erica Garcia Ochoa, Dolores Huerta International Academy, Fontana Unified School District
- Anna Getherall-Hubert, District Multilingual TOSA, Hacienda La Puente Unified School District
- Suly Hilario, Comienza Community Prep School, KIPP SoCal
- Gemma Jauregui, Language Academy of Sacramento, Sacramento City Unified School District
- Ana Luna-Franco, Language Academy of Sacramento, Sacramento City Unified School District
- Wendy Maestas Padilla, District Multilingual TOSA, Hacienda La Puente Unified School District
- Esmeralda Maldonado, Armada Elementary, Moreno Valley Unified School District
- Michael Mathews, Making Waves Academy, Contra Costa County Office of Education
- Vanessa Mosqueda, Cesar Chavez Elementary, Long Beach Unified School District
- Elia Peralta, Si Se Puede Academy, Rocketship/Santa Clara County Office of Education
- Victor Soria, Grace M. Davis High School, Modesto City Schools
- Linda Valdivia, Cloverdale Elementary School, Moreno Valley Unified School DIstrict
- Bernadette Zermeno, Early Education Multilingual Specialist, Oakland Unified School District
- Carolyn Zierenberg, John F. Kennedy High School, Sacramento City Unified School District
Los Angeles Emergent Bilingual Change Agent Network
Building on the success of the statewide Emergent Bilingual Change Agent Network, Teach Plus launched a similar program in Los Angeles supporting teacher leaders and their school-based teams to enact change to close opportunity gaps of emergent bilingual students, rooted in the California English Learner Roadmap. Building on lessons learned from the statewide program, the Los Angeles cohort will leverage opportunities rooted in the distinct challenges and opportunities of Los Angeles students.
The 2023-2024 Los Angeles Emergent Bilingual Change Agents are:
- Alejandra Reynoso, Public Service Community High School. Los Angeles Unified School DIstrict
- Erika Cedeno, Golden Valley High School, William S. Hart Union High School District
- Giovanna Origel-Polanco, Linda Verde Elementary, Lancaster Unified School District
- Lanae Harper-Jimenez, Azusa High School, Lancaster Unified School District
- Nicole Angileri-Ruben, KIPP Endeavor College Prep, KIPP Southern California
- Salvador de la Cruz, Alliance Kory Hunter Middle School, Alliance College-Ready Public Schools
Each new Teach Plus California cohort member was chosen based on their effectiveness as an educator, their strong commitment to the classroom and to equity, the ability to articulate the needs of their students, and the pursuit of excellence and innovation in teaching. Throughout the program, the teachers are trained in policy, advocacy, research, and communications and develop the skills to advocate for changes for California’s students.
About Teach Plus
Teach Plus is dedicated to the mission of empowering excellent, experienced, and diverse teachers to take leadership over key policy and practice issues that advance equity, opportunity, and student success. In pursuing our mission, Teach Plus is guided by our Student Opportunity Mandate: All students should have the opportunity to achieve their potential in an education system defined by its commitment to equity, its responsiveness to individual needs, and its ability to prepare students for postsecondary success. Since 2009, Teach Plus has developed thousands of teacher leaders across the country to exercise their leadership in shaping education policy and improving teaching and learning for students. teachplus.org/ca
For more information and to arrange interviews with Teach Plus California teacher leaders, contact Kelly Pearce.