August 31, 2021

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 its new cohort of 10 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. 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.
 
“As we navigate a year still impacted by COVID-19, I am excited to work with this passionate group of educators from across Indiana to tackle issues around stimulus and school funding, teacher and student mental health, retention of teachers of color, and the ongoing preparation of teachers ready to navigate a variety of situations. The Fellows are ready to share their insights and lessons learned from last year as they grow in building their policy expertise,” said Teach Plus Indiana Executive Director Rachel Hathaway.

The previous cohorts of Teach Plus Indiana Policy Fellows successfully advocated for increased funding for K-12 education and equity-driven school discipline and helped improve teacher supply and demand data reporting and teacher preparation. In the era of COVID-19, the Fellows galvanized other teachers from around the state and shared social emotional learning strategies and methods of coping while also highlighting how teachers can inform ongoing decision-making process around COVID with their districts. The new cohort will continue to focus on stimulus funding decisions and improving the teaching pipeline, as well as on improving support for teacher and student mental health and trauma-informed instruction. 
 
“As a Teach Plus Fellow, I am most excited about the opportunity to learn how policy influences the overall environment of education,” said Isaac (Andrew) Adjei, a 4th grade teacher at Pleasant Run Elementary in MSD of Warren Township. “I hope to use the knowledge that I gain from this Fellowship, as well as the perspectives from other teachers in my cohorts and policy makers to promote a more equitable educational system.”

“I am looking forward to going ‘behind the scenes,’ which will allow me to truly understand the legislative process and its larger impact on education. Additionally, I am excited to discover how I, and educators like me, can more largely impact educational legislation to assure equity in the educational system,” said Suzanne Holcomb, a 5th grade teacher at Mary Beck Elementary School in Elkhart, IN.  

The new Fellows hail from a variety of locations across the state including Indianapolis, Goshen, Gary, Elkhart, and Crown Point. Their teaching experience ranges from three years to 18 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 a quarter of the teachers are currently involved in the teacher's union.  
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. 

The 2021-22 Indiana Policy Fellows are:

Isaac (Andrew) Adjei, Pleasant Run Elementary, MSD of Warren Township, Indianapolis
McKenya Dilworth, 21st Century Charter School, Independent Charter School, Gary 
Suzanne Holcomb, Mary Beck Elementary, Elkhart Community Schools, Elkhart
Annika Miller, Goshen Middle School, Goshen Community Schools, Goshen
Halle Shine, Indianapolis Metropolitan High School, Independent Charter School, Indianapolis
M. Troy Smith, Kindezi Academy, IPS Innovation Network School, Indianapolis 
Candice Washington, Kindezi Academy, IPS Innovation Network School, Indianapolis 
Ronda Waters, Crown Point High School, Crown Point Community School Corp, Crown Point
Jessica Williams, Westlake Elementary School, MSD of Wayne Township, Indianapolis
Angela Yarrell, Penn High School, Penn-Harris-Madison School Corp, Mishawaka

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