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Claire Jellinek
2011 Alumni Washington Fellow
Albuquerque, NM


Photo of Claire Jellinek, Washington Fellow

Bio/Overview: As a 2011 Washington Fellow, Claire spent her year primarily engaging teachers in the Department’s work to support innovation and technology in schools. For the previous five years, she taught social studies at South Valley Academy, an innovative charter high school in a low-income neighborhood of Albuquerque, NM where 98% of the students are native Spanish speakers. Before becoming a teacher, Claire spent several years working abroad as an English teacher, a simultaneous translator, and a newswire stringer. While in Italy, she covered the United Nations International Criminal Court, the fall of the Italian government, and the Italian Presidential elections. Upon her return to the States, Claire attended graduate school to study international law and development economics – always keeping the idea of teaching close to her heart. As soon as she finished graduate school, Claire joined Teach For America’s 2003 NM corps, where she taught on the Zuni Indian Reservation. Previous to her time as a Fellow at ED, Claire taught at South Valley Academy, an innovative charter high school, also in NM. Beginning August 2012, Claire will attend a year-long intensive Arabic language studies program with the American University in Cairo, after which she hopes to dive into a long-term career in international education.

Educational Values/Philosophy: A large part of who Claire is as an educator has been shaped by the questions she has asked and the broader perspectives she has gained as an international exchange student and young professional living abroad. Inquiry and debate are at the core of her teaching. She encourages her students to challenge assumptions, explore alternate viewpoints, and develop means of communicating new ideas.

Achievements: In the course of her career, Claire was twice selected as a C.V. Starr Scholar of International Affairs. As a teacher-leader, she won four school and classroom teaching grants, a National Endowment of the Humanities summer fellowship grant, and the 2011 Washington Teaching Ambassador Fellowship. In addition, Claire has published several articles related to international affairs for United Press International and The Associated Press. As an educator, she was selected as “Teacher of the Year” for Zuni High School in the 2005-2006 school year.

Leadership Experience: As a 2011 Washington Fellow in the Office of Education Technology, Claire spearheaded the development of a League of Innovative Teachers. At South Valley Academy, she served as Instructional Team Leader and Social Studies Department Chair. Claire was selected as a Corps Member Advisor for the Teach for America Summer Institute, for which she supervised new teachers for classroom readiness. She completed her thesis research around children and adolescents at the Cáritas Brasileira in Brazil, and was a Bi-lingual Language Instruction Coordinator for Colegio las Victorias in Argentina.

Affiliations: Teach for America, National Council for Social Studies

Education: Claire completed her undergraduate degree at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, during which time she studied abroad at the School of Law at Università degli Studi di Siena in Italy.  She went on to earn a Master’s degree in Law and Diplomacy from The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University.

Areas of Interest/Expertise:

  • International education/intercultural education;
  • Charter school movement; teacher-led schools
  • Effective use of educational technology; innovative classrooms

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Last Modified: 08/16/2012