Teaching Ambassador Fellowship
2008 Alumni Classroom Fellow
Bio/Overview: Eric Kinne teaches English and is the Coordinator for the Advancement via Individual Determination (AVID) program at Fairfax High School (FHS) in Virginia. Kinne has worked incredibly hard over the last six years to build AVID at FHS by recruiting the right students and teachers into the program. Under his leadership the number of students in the AVID program and the number of AVID classes offered at FHS have both doubled in size. Kinne began his career teaching high school English in Roma, Texas, a small, rural town nestled right on the border of Mexico. He didn’t originally plan on being a teacher, arriving in the Rio Grande Valley (RGV) through the Teach For America (TFA) program. It didn’t take long for him to realize, however, that teaching was his passion, and he can’t imagine doing anything else with his life. Because he wants to be a classroom teacher for life, he is passionate about expanding teacher leadership opportunities and helping to re-envision the role of teacher-leaders in his school. This previous school year he and his principal worked together to create a hybrid teacher-leader position that allows Kinne to remain in the classroom while simultaneously coordinating the AVID program.
Educational Values/Philosophy: Kinne believes that the public school system has a responsibility to prepare all children in this nation for college, whether they choose that path or not. His life experiences—including growing up in rural Maine, later moving to and attending high school in a large suburban school district in Northern Virginia, and teaching in a low-income, rural community in South Texas—have all shaped his belief that there exist huge disparities in the educational experience of American children. He believes that all of his students have the potential to excel in advanced classes if given the right in-school support. He also believes that all of his students have the potential to get into and eventually graduate from a four-year college or university. His daily work is driven by his former students, those incredible individuals who have achieved so much in life through hard work and a gentle push from a teacher who cared.
Achievements: Kinne was selected as the 2008-2009 FHS Teacher of the Year, an honor that highlights his love of teaching kids.Leadership Experience: As the coordinator of the AVID program, Kinne leads multiple interdisciplinary groups of teachers all dedicated to improving the life prospects of their students. He also serves as the English 9 Honors Collaborative Learning Team Leader and is the Head Coach of the Varsity Boys Tennis Team. He is a member of the Fairfax County Public Schools AVID leadership team, and he has spent four summers in various roles training new Teach For America corps members in both Houston and Los Angeles. During his year as a Teaching Ambassador Fellow in 2008-2009, Kinne worked with policymakers in the Smaller Learning Communities grant program to examine freshmen transition programs. The fellowship also allowed him to work closely with the Department of Education to highlight the AVID program; Kinne delivered presentations and organized a visit to FHS by former Secretary of Education, Margaret Spellings and the AVID Executive Director, Jim Nelson.
Affiliations: Teach For America, AVID, Smaller Learning Communities grant program
Education: Kinne completed his undergraduate education at James Madison University and went on to earn his Master’s in Language and Literacy from the Harvard University Graduate School of Education.Areas of Interest/Expertise:
- Low income and minority student support
- College readiness
- College access for low-income and undocumented students
- Teacher leadership