Teach Plus Arkansas Names 26 Highly Effective Educators to Its 2022-23 Policy Fellowship Cohort

Teach Plus Arkansas Names 26 Highly Effective Educators to Its 2022-23 Policy Fellowship Cohort

Little Rock, AR — Teach Plus Arkansas, a national nonprofit that empowers teachers to lead improvements in educational policy and instructional practice, has selected a group of 26 demonstrably effective teachers from around Arkansas for its 2022-23 Policy Fellowship cohort. Building on the success of last year’s first full fellowship cohort in the state, these teacher leaders will be trained in policy and advocacy specifically designed to help them develop the skills to advocate for innovative policy solutions for Arkansas’s students.

“The new Fellows will extend the previous cohort’s work and advocacy on issues such as early childhood education, teacher preparation, and teacher compensation and retention in our state. They will work collaboratively and with intentionality to develop and deepen relationships with policymakers, education leaders, and practitioners from across Arkansas to improve teaching and learning for all Arkansas students,” Teach Plus Arkansas Executive Director Stacey McAdoo said.

This new cohort consists of educators from Northwest Arkansas, Central Arkansas, the Arkansas Delta, and several towns in between. With teaching experience ranging from three to twenty-six years, these esteemed educators have a total of 279 years of classroom experience in traditional and charter public schools. The new Fellows teach preK-12th core subjects, electives, and specialty areas such as CTE, special education, gifted and talented, college and career readiness, Spanish, academic facilitators, and media studies. Among the cohort’s accolades are school and/or district teachers of the year, National Board Certified teachers, and educators from the Arkansas Declaration of Learning Program. With 55% of the cohort identifying as teachers of color, compared to only 12% of teachers statewide, Teach Plus Arkansas Policy Fellows are reflective of the diversity of our public school students.

“I’m excited about the opportunity to connect with fellow educators throughout the state and form relationships that will go far beyond the Fellowship. Our professional growth and learning about how to improve our policies and practices mean that we are able to give our students the very best of ourselves and our profession,” said Ashley Rieske, a Teach Plus Policy Fellow who teaches at Fairview Elementary in the Rogers School District.

“As a Teach Plus Policy Fellow, I hope to collaborate with my colleagues in the Fellowship to identify policy solutions that will increase student success and address educational inequity, poor curricula, and scant accountability,” said Teach Plus Policy Fellow Arthur Willis, who works as a Novice Teacher Coordinator at Great Rivers Educational Cooperative in Helena.

The Fellows were selected through a rigorous application process that assessed their effectiveness, commitment to equity, ability to articulate their students’ needs, and pursuit of excellence and innovation in teaching. Over the next year, they will engage in monthly trainings to develop their policy, advocacy, research, and communications skills in order to advocate for systemic changes for Arkansas’s students.

The 2022-23 Teach Plus Arkansas Policy Fellows are:

  • Phylicia Butler, North Little Rock School District
  • Emily Garrison, Bentonville School District
  • Tammy Gately, Cabot School District
  • Ashleigh Gilespie, Cedarville School District
  • LeAndra Grant, North Little Rock School District
  • Mari Hayes, Rogers School District
  • Alexis Jackson, North Little Rock School District
  • Vanessa Jefferson, Friendship Aspire Academy
  • Deirdra Johnson, Stuttgart School District
  • Kendria Jones, Pine Bluff School District
  • Amanda Ladish, Springdale School District
  • James Levins, Jonesboro School District
  • LaFealle Long, Earle School District
  • Brandie Loomis, Bentonville School District
  • Katy Moore, Bentonville School District
  • Elizabeth Queathem, Stuttgart School District
  • Ashley Rieske, Rogers School District
  • Courtney Russell, Jonesboro School District
  • Monica Smith, Camden Fairview School District
  • Nicole Smith, Little Rock School District
  • Lonnie Strange, Arkansas Lighthouse Academies
  • Arthur Willis, Great Rivers Educational Cooperative

The 2022-23 Teach Plus Arkansas Senior Policy Fellows are:

  • Perla Andrade, Little Rock School District
  • Juanita Harris, Texarkana School District
  • Holly Howard, Bentonville School District
  • Kendria Jones, Pine Bluff School District
  • Brandie Loomis, Bentonville School District
  • Cara Maxwell, Springdale School District

“I’m excited to continue my work with Teach Plus,” said Senior Policy Fellow Perla Andrade of Baseline Elementary in the Little Rock School District. “Teach Plus has encouraged me to push myself, and I feel like I’m a part of something greater.”

About Teach Plus
The mission of Teach Plus is to empower excellent, experienced, and diverse teachers to take leadership over key policy and practice issues that affect their students’ success. Since 2009, Teach Plus has developed thousands of teacher leaders to exercise their leadership in shaping education policy and improving teaching and learning to create an education system driven by access and excellence for all. teachplus.org


Contact: Anya Grottel-Brown, agrottelbrown@teachplus.org, 917-902-5902