INDIANAPOLIS, IN — Teach Plus, a national nonprofit that empowers teachers to lead improvements in education policy and instructional practice, continues its work in Indiana with nine newly inducted Teaching Policy Fellows from across the state. Throughout the program, the Fellows are trained in policy and advocacy specially designed to help them develop the skills to advocate for changes for Hoosier students. Fellows are selected through a rigorous application process which requires them to demonstrate effectiveness, commitment to equity, and pursuit of excellence and innovation in their teaching. In the next year, these teachers will work to address timely policy issues in order to better support teachers and students, both in the long term and in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
“Teacher leadership will be vital in continuing to navigate the return to school this year as we all start to better understand the disruption and impact of the coronavirus pandemic. Whether schools return virtually, in-person, or via a hybrid model, teachers will be on the frontlines supporting students and families. In addition to focusing on policy issues such as school funding, teacher preparation, and teacher retention, the new Fellows will also continue to inform the policy decisions being made in response to COVID-19,” said Teach Plus Indiana Executive Director Rachel Hathaway.
The previous cohorts of Teach Plus Policy Fellows successfully advocated for improved teacher supply and demand data reporting, better teacher preparation, and more equity-driven school discipline. In the era of COVID-19, the Fellows galvanized other teachers and shared social emotional learning strategies and methods of coping. The new cohort will continue to focus on building career ladders for Indiana’s teacher leaders and improving the integration of trauma informed practice in teacher preparation programs. The new Policy Fellows will also focus on education funding transparency for each district while advocating to maintain, if not increase, the amount of dollars for the classroom and teacher pay.
“As a Teach Plus Fellow, I am most excited to collaborate with educators and policy makers to plant seeds that grow into something beautiful for our scholars,” said Jack Kellerman, a science teacher at Longfellow Middle School in Indianapolis Public Schools. “I hope to understand how our education ecosystem works in a practical, yet multifaceted manner in order to be a better advocate for all students across Indiana.”
“I am very excited to be a part of the Teach Plus Fellowship. I have always wanted to bring a teacher's perspective to lawmakers, but never had the opportunity to do that until now,” said Gayle Davis, a junior high teacher at Barker Middle School in Michigan City.
The new Fellows hail from a variety of locations across the state including Indianapolis, Goshen, Michigan City, Terre Haute, and South Bend. Their teaching experience ranges from two years to 21 years and they teach across all subjects and grade levels. The teachers represent a variety of preparation institutions such as traditional undergraduate, master’s programs, and alternative prep programs and about half of the teachers are currently involved in the teachers' union.
The 2020-21 Indiana Policy Fellows are:
Michele Berry, North Central High School, MSD Washington Township, Indianapolis
Gayle Davis, Barker Middle School, Michigan City Area Schools, Michigan City
Anika Green, Kindezi Academy, Neighborhood Charter Network, Indianapolis
Katlyn Josway, Dickinson Fine Arts Academy, South Bend Community School Corporation, South Bend
Jack Kellerman, Henry W. Longfellow Middle School 28, Indianapolis Public Schools, Indianapolis
Megan Potter, Clarence Farrington School 61, Indianapolis Public Schools, Indianapolis
Brandi Sapp, Goshen Middle School, Goshen Community Schools, Goshen
Gregory Sparks, Christel House Emmerich Manual High School, Christel House Schools, Indianapolis
John Sternfeld, Terre Haute North Vigo High School, Vigo County School Corporation, Terre Haute
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 trained thousands of teacher leaders across the country who are driving policy changes and improving the instructional practices of teachers to create an education system driven by equity, access, and excellence for all students. teachplus.org