Secretary Duncan Celebrates Launch Of Teach Plus In Washington, D.C.

Secretary Duncan Celebrates Launch Of Teach Plus In Washington, D.C.

Leadership program now in six major cities to amplify the voice of effective teachers in education policy

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan today celebrated the expansion of Teach Plus, a national non-profit organization, to the nation’s capital. The program aims to improve outcomes for children by ensuring that a greater proportion of students have access to effective, experienced teachers.

The launch event, held at the FHI 360 Conference Center, included the introduction of the city’s first cohort of Teach Plus Teaching Policy Fellows. Twenty-five high-performing teachers from DC Public Schools and public charter schools were selected to participate in leadership opportunities designed to amplify the voice of effective classroom teachers.

Secretary Duncan spoke about the important role of teacher voice in education policy and answered questions from teachers in attendance.

The event also featured remarks from Adam Gray, the 2012 Massachusetts Teacher of the Year, an alumnus of the Teaching Policy Fellowship who teaches in the Boston Public Schools.

During the 18-month program, Teaching Policy Fellows will gain a foundation in education policy, research, and best practices from around the nation that will enable them to advocate effectively for policies that will better serve students and retain excellent teachers. Together, they will choose areas of teacher quality policy on which to focus.

Selected from among 100 applicants, teachers in the new cohort of DC Fellows have an average of five years of classroom teaching experience. They work in a range of traditional and charter public schools. Many serve as team or department leaders in their schools and have won awards for their excellence in the classroom, including the Pettus Foundation Award of Excellence and the Rubenstein Award for Highly Effective Teaching.

“Teach Plus was founded to confront the fact that nearly half of teachers leave urban schools within their first three years in the classroom—just as they reach their peak effectiveness,” said Teach Plus Founder and CEO Celine Coggins. “Our goal is to offer experienced, effective teachers leadership opportunities that allow them to expand their impact while continuing to work directly with kids.”

Dr. Coggins introduced the new Executive Director of Teach Plus DC, Candace Crawford. Ms. Crawford formerly worked as assistant director for pre-K-12 school and district assistance at the non-profit Education Trust. She has taught sixth grade math and middle and high school history. She is a former assistant director of residential life and assistant women’s basketball coach at Bowdoin College. Ms. Crawford is a trustee of Capital City Public Charter School, an award-winning expeditionary learning school in DC. She earned a bachelor’s degree in history at Dartmouth College and a master’s degree in education policy at the University of Pennsylvania.

“The Fellowship is designed to ensure that effective teachers have a voice in the policy decisions that affect their classrooms and their students,” said Ms. Crawford. “We look forward to engaging this talented cohort of Teaching Policy Fellows in thoughtful analysis, debate, and discussion about the critical issues of teacher quality facing the district and our nation.”

The Teaching Policy Fellowship began in Boston in 2007 with a pilot cohort of 16 teachers from urban schools in Greater Boston. The program now operates in Boston, Chicago, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, and Memphis. Teach Plus Teaching Policy Fellows have been recognized at national, state, and local levels for their accomplishments both in and out of the classroom. Including the new DC cohort, 291 teachers have been selected and trained for leadership roles through Teach Plus.

Teach Plus works with both results-oriented teachers and education policy leaders in transforming the profession to reward excellence and results. Its programs focus on demonstrably effective teachers in the second stage of their careers (years 3 through 10) who want to continue classroom teaching while also expanding their impact as leaders in their schools and in national, state, and district policy.

Teach Plus DC Teaching Policy Fellows (2012-2013):

Kylie Alsofrom — DC Preparatory Edgewood Elementary Campus
Laura Arce — DC Bilingual Public Charter School
Mary Balla — Anacostia Senior High School
Kathryn Broullire — Thurgood Marshall Academy Public Charter High School
Gisela Castillo — E.L. Haynes Public Charter High School
Shayna Cook — Simon Elementary School
Caryn Davidson — Truesdell Education Campus
Dwight Davis — Wheatley Education Campus
Allison Frieze — Orr Elementary School
Alexandra Fuentes — Cesar Chavez Public Charter High School for Public Policy
David Gesualdi — KIPP DC: Heights Academy
Fayanna Hodge — Community Academy Public Charter School
Tiffany Johnson — Ronald H. Brown Middle School
Prathima Kathiresan — McKinley Technology High School
Aliesha Maye — KIPP DC: AIM Academy
Dowan McNair-Lee — Stuart-Hobson Middle School
Keina Newell — KIPP DC: KEY Academy
Jignasha Pandya — McKinley Technology High School
Meaghan Petersack — E.L. Haynes Public Charter School
Alyson Roberts — C.W. Harris Elementary School
Luther Sewell, III — Maya Angelou Public Charter School, Middle School
Marcello Sgambelluri — Butler Elementary- Community Academy Public Charter School
Jessica Stefon — Stanton Elementary School
Leighton Thomas — KIPP DC: WILL Academy
Brian Thompson — Cardozo Senior High School