Little Rock, AR, September 6, 2023 — Teach Plus, a national teacher leadership organization, has selected 31 demonstrably effective teachers from around Arkansas for its 2023-2024 Policy Fellowship cohort. The Policy Fellows will focus on a range of issues of importance to Arkansas’ students and teachers, including teacher leadership and development, early literacy, and teacher recruitment and retention.
“The selection of these outstanding educators as Teach Plus Arkansas Policy Fellows underscores our commitment to elevating teacher voice in shaping education policy to benefit students,” said Teach Plus Arkansas Executive Director and 2019 Arkansas Teacher of the Year Stacey McAdoo. “At Teach Plus, we believe that by harnessing the expertise of classroom practitioners and developing their skills in policy, advocacy, and communications, we can create policies that truly meet the needs of Arkansas’ students and educators. And that together, with teachers at the table alongside policymakers, we can work towards creating a more equitable and effective education system that empowers every Arkansas student.”
“As a Personnel and Policies Committee Member (PPC) for my school district, a teacher leader in my building, and student mentor, I look forward to using what I learn in the Teach Plus Policy Fellowship to spark change in my school district in order to improve the learning experience of both teachers and students,” said Yvette Townsend, an English language arts teacher at Lincoln Middle School in the Lincoln School District and 2023-2024 Teach Plus Arkansas Policy Fellow.
The cohort includes the 2011 Arkansas Teacher of the Year, two Arkansas Teacher of the Year finalists, several district and local teachers of the year, six National Board Certified teachers, an Arkansas Gifted and Talented Education Association Educator, and two educators who have received recognition for having the highest reading achievement in their district. Eighty percent of this cohort teach in schools where at least 50 percent of the student population receive free and reduced lunch. And with over half of the cohort—61 percent—identifying as teachers of color, compared to roughly 12 percent of teachers statewide, Teach Plus Arkansas’ Policy Fellows more closely reflect the diversity of our public school students. The new Fellows hail from urban, rural, and suburban areas throughout Arkansas and have classroom experience ranging from 2-30 years. The teachers come from a variety of settings, including traditional public, charter and an early childhood center, and teach a variety of subjects and age levels from pre-kindergarten to 12th grade.
Throughout the program, the Fellows are trained in policy, advocacy, research, and communications and develop the skills necessary to advocate for changes for Arkansas’ students. Each Fellow was chosen based on their strong commitment to the classroom and to equity, their ability to articulate the needs of their students, and their pursuit of excellence and innovation in their teaching.
”I am excited to use my Teach Plus Policy Fellowship experience to learn more about how education policies are made and how to use my voice to advocate for my students. Participation in this fellowship will help me to become a catalyst for change and an influential, equity-conscious teacher leader,” said Freda Calloway, a high school teacher at McGehee High School in the McGehee School District and 2023-2024 Teach Plus Arkansas Policy Fellow.
The 2023-2024 Teach Plus Arkansas Policy Fellows are:
- Tia Brickey, Park Avenue Elementary, Stuttgart School District
- Stephanie Butler, Cabot Junior High South, Cabot School District
- Freda Calloway, McGehee High School, McGehee School District
- Taylor Dalencourt, KIPP Delta Collegiate High School, KIPP Delta Public Schools
- Sheila Dean, Carl Stuart Middle School, Conway School District
- Mari Hayes, Rogers Heritage High School, Rogers School District
- Jadaci Henderson, L.L. Owen Elementary, Pine Bluff School District
- Allanna Henton, Ivory Intermediate School, Camden Fairview School District
- Brandon Hughey, Camden Fairview High School, Camden Fairview School District
- Tamika Kimble, Jack Robey Junior High, Pine Bluff School District
- Amanda Ladish, George Junior High School, Springdale School District
- Tiffaney Lewis, Forest Heights S.T.E.M. Academy, Little Rock School District
- Brandie Loomis, Centerton Gamble Elementary, Bentonville School District
- Tyler McBride, Lincoln Middle School, Lincoln School District
- Samantha Mitchell, Mayflower High School, Mayflower School District
- Charles Moore, Horace Mann Magnet Middle School, Little Rock School District
- Katy Moore, Bentonville West High School, Bentonville School District
- Kathy Powers, Carl Stuart Middle School, Conway School District
- Ashley Rieske, Fairview Elementary, Rogers School District
- Joshua Smith, Carl Stuart Middle School, Conway School District
- Patricia Swinton, Wilbur D. Mills University Studies High School, Pulaski County Special School District
- Yvette Townsend, Lincoln Middle School, Lincoln School District
- Ruthie Walls, Little Rock Central High School, Little Rock School District
- Toya White, Titan Academy, Jacksonville North Pulaski School District
- Tennille Winston, Lisa Academy Arkansas Hybrid School, Lisa Academy
The 2023-2024 Teach Plus Arkansas Senior Policy Fellows are:
- Michael Flowers, WIlbur D. Mills University Studies, Pulaski County Special School District
- Emily Garrison, Bentonville West High School, Bentonville School District
- Juanita Harris, Harmony Leadership Academy, Texarkana School District
- Alexis Jackson, Seventh Street Elementary, North Little Rock School District
- Cara Maxwell, Springdale Early Childhood Center, Springdale School District
- Monica Smith, Camden Fairview High School, Camden Fairview School District
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/ar
For more information and to arrange interviews with the Policy Fellows, contact Kelly Pearce, email@example.com.