Alums and current participants in The Public Education Foundation’s Teacher Leader Academy were represented extensively in the recent awarding of prestigious fellowships by Teach Plus, a national organization that works to ensure teachers have a voice in the public policy decisions affecting their classrooms.
Of the 20 Teach Plus Fellows selected from across Nevada for its 2018-19 statewide Teaching Policy Fellowship, eight are current or former participants in the Foundation’s cutting-edge Teacher Leader Academy:
- Jeff Hinton of Advanced Technologies Academy
- Richard Knoeppel of Advanced Technologies Academy
- Mike Lang of Dearing Elementary School
- Daniel Liles of Robison Middle School
- Jen Loescher of Sedway Middle School
- Jeannine Martucci of Lawrence Junior High School
- Jordana McCudden of Canarelli Middle School
- Jacob Schilleci of Northwest Career & Technical Academy
Teach Plus notes that it equips teachers “to be heard through our Teaching Policy Fellowships, a highly selective, rigorous program for teachers who want to deepen their knowledge in education policy.” For those individuals who have undergone the Teacher Leader Academy’s intensive, 12-month program, Teach Plus’ Fellowship complements and builds upon the training they’ve already received.
The goal of the Teacher Leader Academy is to cultivate and amplify good-to-great teachers with leadership capacity in Nevada, thereby leveraging local talent. The Academy recognizes that to lead classrooms and schools in the 21st century, professionals now require a skill-set that requires strategic problem-solving, advocacy, an understanding of education policy, utilization of technology and data, and collaboration with community stakeholders.
Jen Loescher, who has been teaching for 17 years and currently is a learning strategist/data coordinator at Sedway Middle School, says she was excited to be selected for Teach Plus’ Teaching Policy Fellowship, which drew nearly 120 applications.
After going through The Public Education Foundation’s Teacher Leader Academy, Loescher says so much was shared about how teachers could amplify their voice through advocacy, something that she hadn’t tried before.
“The Teacher Leader Academy was an initial building block for me to consider increasing my impact on policy which oftentimes, as a teacher, we feel we’re on the blunt end instead of being at the table during the discussion,” Loescher says.
Mike Lang, a teacher who is a technology specialist at Dearing Elementary School, previously has been honored as an Apple Distinguished Educator and as a PBS Digital Innovator.
He is in his third year at Dearing Elementary School and in his 15th year of teaching. Now, after 11 years in the Silver State, he considers himself an adopted Nevadan.
“The Teacher Leader Academy is one of the most rewarding things I’ve done as a teacher. I’m being challenged in different aspects of what it means to be a teacher and a leader.”
The support network within the Teacher Leader Academy has been invaluable, and Lang says he wouldn’t have been comfortable applying for the Fellowship if not for his experience in the Teacher Leader Academy. Indeed, he says, “Teach Plus is an extension of the work we’re doing as a cohort.”
Lang says it was an honor to be selected for the Teach Plus Fellowship, to represent Nevada and to further his impact on students positively.
He believes the Fellowship will give him a “deeper insight into all of the parts and machinery in education in Nevada …”
“We’re the closest people to the ground in education,” Lang says of teachers, “in ensuring that the education system reflects what the realities will be in the 21st century.”