Washington, DC - U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King Jr. announced the names of seven teachers and three principals who will comprise the U.S. Department of Education's 2016 cohort of Teaching and Principal Ambassador Fellows. Two of the teachers and one of the principals will serve as full-time employees at the Department's headquarters in Washington, D.C., while seven will remain in their schools and participate on a part-time basis.
"My own experiences as a teacher and principal have been critical in informing my work as Secretary," said King. "It is crucial to have the voices of practicing educators engaged at all levels of education to ensure every student gets the chance at an excellent education. Having the Teaching and Principal Ambassador Fellows as the U.S. Department of Education's partners in this work is not a nicety—it's a necessity."
Now in its ninth year, the Fellowship program is designed to improve education for students by involving practitioners in the development and implementation of national education policy. Fellows work collaboratively with one another and Department staff to provide outreach to teachers and principals among other stakeholders to help them understand the Department's policies, programs and resources. The Fellows also work directly with Department staff members to inform an understanding of how policies and programs are implemented and experienced by students, teachers and principals in schools around the country. The addition of these 10 new Fellows brings the network of outstanding teachers and principals with whom the Department has worked, and continues to network, to 113.
The 2016 Fellows build on the efforts of the 2015 cohort, who reached nearly 10,000 stakeholders through more than 200 discussions and other activities held in 32 states. For example, in preparation for rolling out the new Every Student Succeeds Act., Fellows facilitated 14 listening sessions with senior staff and educators in the field reaching nearly 1000 stakeholders. They also supported four Teach to Lead summits and six leadership labs; hosted seven "Tea with Teachers" conversations with the Secretary and other senior Department staff and three days of visits and meetings with "Principals at ED;" led the National Summit on Teacher Leadership, a Summit on Teacher Diversity and launched the Department's first Equity Summit held in Mississippi. The Fellows also supported the Department's digital engagement with educators, hosting monthly twitter chats (#TeachersatED), revamping the Department's Teachers Edition weekly newsletter and bringing 33 "Voices from the Classroom" to help ground major policy discussions in the experiences of students and educators.
The 10 new Fellows will be at the Department this week for a three-day summit to become more familiar with federal education policy and Department staff, as well as to begin exchanging ideas for enhancing communication between teachers, stakeholders and education policy leaders. The 2016 Fellows will launch their outreach in mid-September during the Department's annual back-to-school bus tour.
This year's full-time Washington, D.C., Fellows:
- Patrick Kelly, a 2015 Classroom Teaching Ambassador Fellow and AP Government and lead teacher from Blythewood High School in South Carolina.
- Amanda Barney, an English teacher and professional developer at Mattituck Jr.-Sr. High School and an America Achieves New York State Educator Voice Lead Fellow from Mattituck, New York.
- Jean-Paul Cadet, principal of Oxon Hill High School, and adjunct professor on Teacher Leadership and Cultural Competence at Howard University, from Prince George's County, Maryland.
This year's part-time Fellows:
- Melody Arabo, a third-grade teacher in a hybrid role at Keith Elementary School and the 2015 Michigan Teacher of the Year from West Bloomfield, Michigan.
- Anna Baldwin, an English and History teacher at Arlee High School, as well as a Native American Studies online teacher, 2014 Montana Teacher of the Year and 2015 Hope Street National Fellow from Arlee, Montana.
- Arthur Everett, a Social Studies and Special Education teacher at the High School of Telecommunication Arts and Technology and an America Achieves New York State Educator Voice Fellow from Brooklyn, New York.
- Stacey Dallas Johnston, an English and Creative Writing teacher at Las Vegas Academy of the Arts and Clark County Teacher Leader and Mentor in Las Vegas, Nevada. Secretary King highlighted Johnston in an April speech about the power of a well-rounded education.
- Sean McComb, a high school English teacher at Patapsco High School, 2014 National Teacher of the Year, and district-wide Professional Learning Provider from Baltimore County, Maryland.
- Monifa McKnight, Director of School Leadership programs and recent principal of Ridgeview Middle School, as well as 2015 National Association of Secondary Schools Principal of the Year from Montgomery County, Maryland.
- Dana Nerenberg, principal of Sitton Elementary School and America Achieves Policy Fellow from Portland, Oregon.