Teach Plus Mississippi Welcomes 25 Teachers to the 2022-23 Policy Fellowship

Teach Plus Mississippi Welcomes 25 Teachers to the 2022-23 Policy Fellowship

Jackson, MS — Teach Plus, a national nonprofit that empowers teachers to lead improvements in educational policy and instructional practice, has selected a group of 25 demonstrably effective teachers from around Mississippi for its 2022-2023 Policy Fellowship cohort. Mississippi’s fourth cohort of Policy Fellows will focus on a range of issues of importance to Mississippi teachers, students, and parents, including teacher preparation, mentorship, and retention. The teacher leaders will also continue their efforts to address the mental health needs of students and teachers.

“Teach Plus Mississippi Policy Fellows have been successful in building on the work of previous cohorts by taking advantage of new policy research and advocacy opportunities. Last year alone, our Fellows led a successful advocacy campaign that resulted in the largest teacher pay raise in our state’s history. They also crafted policy recommendations to meet the mental health needs of students and teachers. This new group of teacher leaders will have an opportunity to influence a range of policy decisions , including teacher retention, licensure requirements, and teacher mentorship,” said Sanford Johnson, Executive Director of Teach Plus Mississippi.

Danielle Whittington, a Policy Fellow and 4th Grade teacher from Columbia, stated, “The Teach Plus Policy Fellowship gives us a voice from the trenches, enabling us to be the change for the needs we see and live daily. I want to use my passion to advocate for those who can’t or won’t, to impact those who need it the most.”

Over half of the new Fellows are teachers of color, reflecting the diversity of Mississippi and its students in multiple ways. They come from districts in the Delta, Metro Jackson, and the Gulf Coast and several communities in between. They have been trained through a variety of educator preparation programs such as traditional undergraduate, master’s programs, and alternative prep programs.

Throughout the fellowship, the Fellows are trained in policy, advocacy, research, and communications and develop the skills necessary to advocate for changes for Mississippi 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.

Evonie Rash, a Policy Fellow and High School ELA teacher from Hollandale, stated, “As a Policy Fellow, I want to become more active and involved in the policy decisions that affect my children, my students, and my fellow educators. I hope to be a voice for the change that our education system needs.”

The 2022-23 Mississippi Policy Fellows are:

  • Charlotte Armstrong, Desoto County School District
  • Melissa Black, Marshall County Schools
  • Joviladra Blake, Clarksdale Municipal School District
  • Shana Bolden, West Bolivar Consolidated School District
  • Miketa Davis-Smith, Jackson Public Schools
  • Porshia Ferguson, Ambition Prep Charter School
  • Jack Fredricks, West Tallahatchie School District
  • Mary Hill Taylor, Choctaw Tribal Schools
  • Rebecca Hooper, Laurel Public Schools
  • Andy Huey, Long Beach School District
  • Vickie Malone, Mississippi School for the Arts
  • Evonie Rash, Hollandale School District
  • Adraine Reed, Hinds County School District
  • Lakima Ross, Leflore Legacy Academy
  • Heather Rowland, Columbus Municipal Schools
  • Kristin Scott, Holmes County Consolidated School District
  • Danielle Whittington, Columbia School District
  • Robbie Williams, Clarksdale Municipal School District
  • Haley Young, Long Beach School District
  • LeShundra Young, Madison County School District
  • Rosemary Collins, Leland School District (Senior Fellow)
  • Drew Hall, Quitman County School District (Senior Fellow)
  • Crystal Jackson, Vicksburg-Warren School District (Senior Fellow)
  • Shawna Robinson, Monroe County School District (Senior Fellow)
  • Valerie Steele, Rankin County School District (Senior Fellow)

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 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