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50 Highly Effective Teachers from Across Texas Named to Teach Plus Policy Fellowship

October 8, 2020
Fellows Will Focus on COVID-19 Response, Education Finance, and Teacher Preparation

Dallas, TX — Teach Plus, a national nonprofit that empowers teachers to lead improvements in policy and practice, launched two new Fellowships for the 2020-21 school year. The 29 Texas Policy Fellows teach across the state and hail from cities across Texas, including Houston, San Antonio, El Paso, and Austin, while the 21 DFW Policy Fellows teach in schools across the Dallas Ft. Worth area. The Fellows will focus on a range of issues of importance to Texas’ teachers, students, and parents, including education finance and teacher preparation, and focus on the COVID-19 response and the teaching and learning during the pandemic.

“Because of COVID-19, education is at an inflection point and teacher leadership is needed now more than ever. I look forward to building on the work of Teach Plus teacher leaders over the last three years to elevate teacher voice and advocate for our students at this unprecedented moment in time,” said Teach Plus Texas Executive Director Kevin Malonson. “Our new cohorts of Policy Fellows are already working hard to ensure equity in education finance, quality and accountability in teacher preparation, and to provide teacher input on issues related to returning to school during the pandemic.”

“I am incredibly excited about the opportunity to affect real legislative change. As a teacher, I know that the work we do doesn't stop at the four walls of our classrooms but also lies in creating policy change. The lives of our students, our colleagues, and our communities depend on us positively impacting policy in Texas,” said Sheena Salcido, Policy Fellow and 8th grade U.S. History teacher at Bowie Middle School in Odessa.  

With 71% of new Fellows teachers of color, the Teach Plus cohorts are representative of the diversity of the state and its students. The Fellows teach all subjects from PK-12th grade, including language and composition, entrepreneurship, cinematic arts and design, special education and dyslexia, and more. Each Fellow was chosen based on their strong commitment to the classroom and their ability to articulate the needs of their students. The incoming teachers have been recognized for their outstanding work at the school, district, and state level. 

“It is my belief that my mission as an educator is to work beyond the classroom to help build stronger systems for teachers and learners alike. I am eager to begin working at the grassroots level and collaborate on policy that will have a real impact on my classroom,” said Sydney Grice, Policy Fellow and 5th grade English and Language Arts teacher at Ripley House Charter School in Houston. 

Teach Plus Texas is also launching the Texas Teacher Network, a community designed to expand collaborative efforts with teachers who want to be active in educational policy. Network teachers will receive training on policy and advocacy, have an opportunity to advocate on behalf of their students, learn about teacher leadership opportunities and awards, and collaborate with other education leaders from their region and throughout the state.

The 2020-21 Texas Policy Fellows are: 
Abigail Baiza, IDEA Public Schools, San Antonio  
Addison Old, Austin ISD, Austin 
Amanda Meadows, IDEA Public Schools, San Antonio
Andrea Ramirez, San Antonio ISD, San Antonio
Ashley Learned, IDEA Public Schools, San Antonio
Christina Tometchko, YES Prep Public Schools, Houston
Claire Romano, San Antonio ISD, San Antonio
Creacy Brown, Galveston ISD, Galveston
Gonzalo Rodriguez, Pharr-San Juan-Alamo ISD, Alamo
Jasmine Jett, Houston ISD, Houston
Jens Hauge, San Antonio ISD, San Antonio
Joseph Winslow, Community ISD, Community
Leah Johnson, Aldine ISD, Aldine
Marissa Castanon-Hernandez, Austin ISD, Austin 
Melina Recio, McAllen ISD, McAllen
Michael Sweet, Pharr-San Juan-Alamo ISD, Pharr
Michele Hand, Whitehouse ISD, Whitehouse
Njoroge Kabugu, YES Prep Public Schools, Houston
Patrick Powers, Denton ISD, Denton
Scoie Green, Katy ISD, Katy
Sheena Salcido, Ector County ISD, Ector
Sydney Grice, Baker Ripley Promise Community Schools, Houston
Tara Bordeaux, Austin ISD, Austin
Ugochi Emenaha, Katy ISD, Katy
Wendy Riley, Meridian School, An IB World School, Round Rock
Christy Mier, El Paso ISD, El Paso
Cristina Correa, IDEA Public Schools, Weslaco
Hjamil Martinez-Vazquez, Crowley ISD, Crowley
Sarah Tredway, Baker Ripley Promise Community Schools, Houston

The 2020-21 DFW Policy Fellows are: 
Brian Harper, Richardson ISD, Richardson
Brittnay Connor, Dallas ISD, Dallas
Charla Washington, Fort Worth ISD, Fort Worth
Christina Etri, Richardson ISD, Richardson
Claire Halquist, Dallas ISD, Dallas
Dev’n Goodman, Fort Worth ISD, Fort Worth
Edwin DuBois, Dallas ISD, Dallas
Janet Diaz, Fort Worth ISD, Fort Worth
Karla Smith, Dallas ISD, Dallas
Melinda Merschel, Richardson ISD, Richardson
Renata Isa, Richardson ISD, Richardson
Sarah Moran, Dallas ISD, Dallas
Salena Fenceroy-Smith, Dallas ISD, Dallas
Steven Morgan, Dallas ISD, Dallas
Tanysha Walls, Fort Worth ISD, Fort Worth
Toni Cheri Butler, Dallas ISD, Dallas
Amanda Hope, Dallas ISD, Dallas
Christina Puga, Dallas ISD, Dallas
Melody Bradley, Grand Prairie ISD, Grand Prairie
Yuridiana Lewis, Dallas ISD, Dallas
Yvonne Morgan, Dallas ISD, Dallas

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