The program fosters collaboration between education practitioners and the federal government, involves educators in education policy, and amplifies practitioners’ voices in the national dialogue.
JoLisa Hoover served previously as a Fellow at ED. She was a member of the first class of Fellows in 2008, at which time she had 23 years of experience in the classroom. She describes the Fellows as translators who speak the language of policy and the language of the classroom. They use that skill to make connections between policy and practice.
Did you know there are ways to lead while still keeping your classroom position? I didn’t! In 2014, I was feeling burnt out, as many educators often feel. I loved being with kids, but felt I wanted to impact education on a larger scale, and I needed a change of pace. As teacher burnout is on the rise, it is of critical importance to find ways to keep our most effective educators in the classroom. Finding opportunities that allow you remain teaching while also flexing your leadership potential is one way to stave off the burnout. Here are 4 of my tips.
In 2015, the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program began recognizing outstanding students in the field of Career and Technical Education. The move was designed to highlight innovation within CTE programs and the educators who empower these students.
“The opportunities I received through CTE allowed me to realize my full potential and helped me to familiarize myself with various industries so I could make an informed decision about my future. CTE is an educator-driven, empowering opportunity that allows students to learn in an engaging environment, setting them up for success in any field they choose to pursue,” said Tristan Lee, 2022 U.S. Presidential Scholar in Career and Technical Education.
Recipients are also asked to identify a distinguished teacher that influenced them in the classroom and beyond. For Tristan, that teacher was Benjamin Femmel who has taught English Language Arts and Reading (ELAR) for 25 years. He recently transitioned to teaching at the high school level and shared his thoughts on the importance of CTE.
We asked. “How has CTE impacted you?”
During my years teaching KSAT (Krueger School of Applied Technology), where I had Tristan Lee (the Presidential Scholar that nominated me) in 8th grade, I was able to see first-hand how the application of knowledge invigorated the learning process and retention. This is true for every subject, not just their CTE classes.
We wanted to know “What is the most meaningful interaction/memory you have had with CTE?”
A major focus of school last year (21-22) was SEL (social emotional learning). I designed multiple Minecraft projects and competitions that simulated engineering dilemmas/challenges. My students love the unconventional approach and I feel they learned the material to a greater dimensional depth than they would have without the technological extensions.
What advice would you provide to teachers starting their careers?
My advice would be to always keep thinking and searching for new ideas and new ways to do things. Collaborate with veterans (experienced teachers). Collaborate with people beyond your discipline. The best collaboration doesn’t begin within a formal setting, it usually begins with a conversation.
Working with teachers from other pathways and disciplines has helped motivated students to get involved in these programs. CTE also helps students find pathways and careers that are right for them. Behind every successful CTE program are the educators that inspire and empower their students.
These dedicated adults spend their time planning, sponsoring, and supporting students in their classrooms. During this CTE Month, we would like to thank all those educators who have encouraged students to broaden their horizons within a CTE pathway.
By: Cori Walls, International Baccalaureate film & Digital Video Production teacher for Palm Beach County School District in Delray Beach, FL
Why is it that so many films have a backstory of a child losing a parent? Or that many superheroes are vindicating the death of their parents? This is where art is the reality for far too many children across our country. The challenge lies in how to offer support to these grieving children.
My mother grew up as one of nine children. Her youngest sibling, my aunt Cheryl, was born with Down Syndrome. At the time of Cheryl’s birth in 1962, the doctors told my grandparents that Cheryl would only live until the age of three, and as such, the family should consider putting her into an institution. My grandparents adamantly refused this recommendation, and Cheryl continued to live at home. My aunt Cheryl passed away in November 2021, just a few months before her 60th birthday. She was deeply cared for and loved by my family until her last day on Earth.
By: Rebecca Standridge, Program Specialist for ESE Curriculum and veteran Special Education Teacher in Marion County, Florida
As a child, I dreamed of growing up and becoming a teacher; practicing reading aloud with my baby dolls and stuffed animals and was always the first to volunteer to help the teacher grade papers. I am now an adult, living my dream of teaching while continuing to learn and explore the field of education. During my career, the lifestyle of a military spouse has been a challenge to my development as a teacher leader. I feel like I have to prove myself to my coworkers and administrators at each new school. I begin teaching at a school, and within one school year I have established myself and built solid relationships with coworkers; these relationships strengthen and just as I feel confident in my position and moving upward, it is time to move again. But, I’ve found several ways to make sure that I can continue to grow as a leader in this unique and constantly-uprooted professional journey.
By: Misael Gonzalez, High School English Language Arts teacher, Miami, Florida
In many ways, my definition of teacher leadership was shaped by dramatized Hollywood portrayals of real accounts: a heroic singular leader fighting the system to make a change, a school in a “rough part of town” with a high minority-student population, and a challenge that had been thought a lost cause by everyone else I have come to realize that teacher leadership is not a case of catching lighting in a bottle. Through research, reading, and learning in my doctoral program, I’ve come to understand teacher leadership relies on collaborative efforts in and out of the classroom, requires a unique set of skills, and needs the right culture to truly grow. Here is what I’ve learned:
By: Neven Holland, Treadwell Elementary, Memphis-Shelby County Schools (MSCS), Tennessee
“It’s the difficulty that keeps me here. It’s the opportunity to give my students in an underserved neighborhood with limited resources the high-quality teachers they deserve,” says my teacher colleague Armani Alexander. Despite all the difficulties of pandemic teaching, there is still this culture to grit and grind like our hometown Memphis Grizzlies in the profession we love with respect and knowledge of our urban community (Emdin, 2016).
After Emancipation, formerly enslaved people had to make new lives for themselves in a world that was new to them in some respects. For too many of them, their new lives were much like their old: working for next to nothing on someone else’s farm or plantation. Some moved North for better opportunities, but regardless of locale, it became apparent that education was the only way to truly free oneself and ensure subsequent generations of better lives. This mindset became the mantra for many African-Americans in the early to mid-20th Century.
By Catherine López, M.A., M.Ed., LDT, CALT, Certified Academic Language Therapist and Bilingual Content Interventionist working for the Austin Independent School District
Quality mentoring programs are more necessary than ever. Attracting and retaining new teachers has gone from being a serious problem to an acute crisis. Districts that seek to curb attrition rates in their ranks need structured programs that can help fledgling teachers during the first two to three years of their career.
Research shows that teachers who identify as leaders are more likely to stay in the profession longer and have a greater impact on student achievement. Teacher turnover and shortages in certain subjects and geographic areas have been an ongoing concern, and there are fears this shortage will continue to spread throughout the country. Recruiting more teachers can’t offset turnover alone, so retaining teachers is important. We know the value of experienced teachers and districts saves money in onboarding and training costs when they are able to keep teachers in the profession. Teacher leadership fosters collaboration, excitement about the profession, increases teachers’ skills, and benefits communities. Donna Harris-Aikens, Senior Advisor for Policy and Planning, met with teacher leaders to talk about the kind of experiences that foster and support teacher leaders in the classroom and throughout their educator networks. Here are the top five takeaways from teachers across the country on engaging and supporting teacher leaders.
I never could predict what might happen in Mr. O’Neil’s art
classes; I just knew I couldn’t wait for the next assignment. Back then I didn’t realize all the ways this
dynamic educator, a rare man of color leading our diverse classroom of second
graders, was serving as a pioneer and role model for me and my peers in John
Barry Elementary School. But I’ll never
forget how his teaching made me feel. As
a second grader, I remember looking up — watching him encourage, challenge and
guide us – and thinking: “I want to be like him.”