Teach Plus Indiana Launches 2023-2024 Cohort of Policy Fellows

Teach Plus Indiana Launches 2023-2024 Cohort of Policy Fellows

Indianapolis, IN, August 30, 2023 — Teach Plus, a national teacher leadership organization, has selected 13 demonstrably effective teachers from around Indiana for its 2023-2024 Policy Fellowship cohort. The Fellowship is a yearlong opportunity for current educators to learn about the policy landscape and advocate for solutions that improve opportunities for students, all while maintaining their critical role as classroom teachers.

“Having practitioners from the classroom participating in the policy dialogue is imperative as we continue to move forward in Indiana,” said Rachel Hathaway, Teach Plus Indiana Executive Director.

Fellows will work on key education advocacy issues affecting students and communities in Indiana including teacher pipeline, school funding, student-centered learning, and student and teacher mental health.

“I’m excited to join the Teach Plus Indiana Policy Fellowship and look forward to using my voice to help make a difference in educational policies,” said Edgar Saucedo-Davila, a junior high school educator in Goshen and a 2023-2024 Teach Plus Indiana Policy Fellow. “I hope I can bring perspectives from my classroom and my students’ lived experiences to better inform our policymakers on what’s best for students.”

The cohort includes school and district teachers of the year, with both union and non-union members. The fellows’ experience spans two to 26 years of teaching, with half the educators entering the profession via a traditional program and the other half coming in via an alternative pathway. With a third of the cohort identifying as teachers of color — compared to less than 10% of teachers statewide — Teach Plus Indiana Policy Fellows are reflective of the diversity of the state and its students. The educators hail from urban, rural, and suburban areas, teaching a variety of subjects and age levels from kindergarten to 12th grade.

“As a Policy Fellow, I plan to elevate key issues like student mental health, equitable access to opportunity, and data transparency to key stakeholders in the policy landscape,” said Deandrea Williams, a Believe Circle City High School teacher in Indianapolis and a 2023-2024 Teach Plus Indiana Policy Fellow. “Alongside my own lived experiences, I hope to create space for my students to also share their insights for a system that better serves students.”

Shaunestte Smith, an elementary teacher in West Lafayette and a 2023-2024 Teach Plus Indiana Policy Fellow, said: “I’m grateful to have a safe environment in the fellowship to grow, question, and develop leadership skills that will stay with me throughout my career as an educator and advocate. I’m honored to have the opportunity to speak up for my students, fellow teachers, and the children of Indiana through this program.”

The 2023-2024 Indiana Policy Fellows are:

  • Ana Acosta – Bethel Park Elementary, Piloted Schools Indianapolis
  • Sarah Archer – Chapelwood Elementary School, MSD Wayne
  • Kelly Chevalier – Crown Point High School, Crown Point Community Schools
  • Ashley Hogan – Emma Donnan Middle School – Adelante Schools, Indianapolis Public Schools
  • Chelsea Howard – Union Jr./Sr. High School, Union School Corporation
  • Eric Marty – Lawrence Central High School, MSD Lawrence Township
  • Kassondra Musick – Northview Middle School, MSD Washington Township
  • Edgar Saucedo-Davila – Goshen Junior High School, Goshen Community Schools
  • Shaunestte Smith – West Lafayette Elementary, West Lafayette Community School Corporation
  • Jeff Swisher – Oliver P. Morton High School, School City of Hammond
  • Hollie Vessels – Riverside Intermediate School, Hamilton Southeastern Schools
  • Deandrea Williams – Believe Circle City High School, Indianapolis Charter School
  • Matthew Williams – Greencastle High School, Greencastle Community School Corporation

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/in

For more information and to arrange interviews with the Policy Fellows, contact Kelly Pearce, kpearce@teachplus.org.