Teach Plus Illinois Launches Inaugural Rural Teacher Leadership Collaborative Across Seven Districts in Southwest Illinois

Teach Plus Illinois Launches Inaugural Rural Teacher Leadership Collaborative Across Seven Districts in Southwest Illinois

Sarah Campbell

Program empowers accomplished teachers to lead improvements in instructional practices for teachers and outcomes for students

Bunker Hill, IL —Teach Plus, a national nonprofit that empowers teachers to lead improvements in policy and practice , in partnership with the Illinois State Board of Education and National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, has selected seven teacher leaders to participate in its first Rural Teacher Leader Collaborative. The program provides highly-accomplished teachers with the tools and training to guide teams to change practices to benefit students and the school community.

Participants in the program use available data to identify a major challenge facing their school and work with their principals to determine a course of action to address it. The inaugural cohort’s projects include expanding reading and writing across the high school curriculum and developing strategies to address chronic absences at the primary level.

“We know that change is most impactful when everyone, from teachers to principals, is invested in it,” said Bill Curtin, Teach Plus Teacher Leadership Coach, “Teachers need to be at the forefront because they have firsthand knowledge of what is needed in classrooms and how best to inspire their colleagues to make changes to their practice that will help students succeed.”

“Even our youngest students need an advocate,” said Mollie Lively, 1st grade teacher at North Elementary School in Taylorville and Rural Teacher Collaborative Teacher Leader. “By partnering with Teach Plus, we will help to build the strong educational foundation that our students deserve.” 

The Rural Teacher Leader Collaborative is funded by an Educator Effectiveness grant from the Illinois State Board of Education and hosted by Bunker Hill CUSD #8. “The district is thrilled to partner with Teach Plus and the National Board in order to facilitate real, lasting and needed change among rural educators,” said Superintendent Todd Dugan. “Too often, the unique challenges facing rural teachers, while similar to those from urban settings, are met with less resources and support than is available in larger districts and communities. These candidates will tackle not only issues that impact their respective districts, but will end up improving the field of teaching in rural Illinois in general.”

Each of the teachers selected for this program has achieved or is in the process of pursuing National Board Certification, the most rigorous professional certification in teaching. Teacher leaders were selected for their demonstrated ability to promote student achievement in their classrooms, their visions for impacting student outcomes, and the leadership skills they have already shown in their schools. This program will help them take the next step by providing formal training in leadership and change management to help extend their impact further.

The 2019-2020 Rural Teacher Collaborative Teacher Leaders are: Barbara Lindauer, National Board certified Social Studies teacher, Collinsville High School, Collinsville Jacob Carlson, English teacher, Civic Memorial High School, Bethalto Jeannine Butler, National Board certified interventionist, Triad Middle School, St. Jacob Jennifer Stendback, National Board certified dean of students, Eisenhower Elementary School, Jacksonville Jody Bosomworth, National Board certified kindergarten teacher, Lovejoy Elementary School, Alton Mollie Lively, National Board certified 1st grade teacher, North Elementary School, Taylorville Rebecca Wilkinson, Technology teacher, Bunker Hill High School, Bunker Hill 

About Teach Plus

The mission of Teach Plus is to empower excellent, experienced 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 across the country 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