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Teaching Ambassador Fellowship

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What Fellows Do: Learn specifically how the Fellows contribute to the work of ED

October 2011
  • Teaching Ambassador Fellows provided support to Town Halls with the Secretary across the country including Geneviève DeBose (2011-2012) who held roundtables with students and teachers in Los Angeles, California along with Juan Govea (2011-2012), Linda Yaron (2010-2011), and Bobbi Houtchens (2009-2009) and with middle school teachers along with Kareen Borders (2011-2012) in Portland, Oregon. 2011-2012 Fellows Angela McClary-Rush and Maryann Woods-Murphy held roundtables with students and faculty at the Secretary’s Town Hall at Wake Tech Community College in Raleigh, North Carolina and where they discussed education reform and the American Jobs Act.
  • Bruce Taterka (2011-2012) was invited to join the Evaluation Pilot Advisory Committee for Excellent Educators for New Jersey and participated in the group’s Summit - a meeting of about 200 stakeholders. Presentations were made by the NJDOE Acting Commissioner and staff and nationally renowned experts to inform the development of the state’s teacher evaluation system.
  • Gamal Sherif (2011-2012) represented ED at the Gilder Lehrman Institute's "History Teacher of the Year" ceremony in New York City where Stacy Hoeflich, this year's VA-based awardee, emphasized the importance of inquiry-driven, experience-based history education for K-12 students.
  • Lisa Coates (2009-2010) attended the Virginia Hispanic Chamber Of Commerce’s Que Pasa Festival in Richmond, VA after visiting several schools and a university along the way.
  • Fellows represented ED at variety of meetings including Claire Jellinek (2011-2012) at the International Conference on Innovative Learning Environments (ILEs) sponsored by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development and the Alberta government in Banff, Canada. Professional teaching organizations, entrepreneurs, foundations and delegations from across the world examined inspiring forms of innovation and to discuss strategies and priorities for expanding new forms of learning environments. Madonna Ramp (2011-2012) attended a conference for leaders of educator preparation programs at Historically Black Colleges and Universities at Huston-Tillotson University in Austin, TX.
  • Shakera Walker (2011-2012) co-facilitated a roundtable with Laurie Calvert (2009-2010) on elevating the teaching profession with TNTP (formally known as the “The New Teacher Project”) in Baltimore.
  • North Carolina State University college students working with at-risk youth visited the Department, where the 2011-2012 Washington Fellows dialoged with them about their individual roles in advancing education for all.
  • Robert Baroz (2011-2012) gave remarks on the Core Content Standards at a county-wide professional development day in Dalton, MA.

September 2011
  • In conjunction with the Secretary’s Great Lakes Back-to-School Bus Tour, the 2011-2012 Fellows participated in outreach efforts throughout the country. As a formal part of the Secretary’s tour, the 2011-2012 Washington Fellows and other Fellows from the region met with over 500 educators in seven States in both formal roundtables and informal discussions and participated in many of the Secretary’s and Senior Staff members visits. For example, Maryann Woods-Murphy accompanied the Secretary on a visit to the AFT Union Hall in Toledo, Ohio, where they viewed a demonstration of Toledo’s innovative program to mentor and evaluate teachers. Leah Lechleiter-Luke and Shakera Walker joined Chief of Staff Joanne Weiss at Brown Street Academy to listen to education stake-holders share how they are contributing to the i3 Milwaukee Community Literacy Project and promoting community connections in support of education. Following that event, Leah and Shakera traveled to South Division High School for a Latino Parent Forum hosted by José Rico. Leah Lechleiter-Luke and Claire Jellinek also attended a Meet & Greet session with about 20 Wisconsin and Milwaukee dignitaries and attended a town hall where Secretary Duncan mentioned that eliminating collective bargaining is not a way to improve education. The two also facilitated roundtable discussions with teachers from School of Career and Technical Education and students at Cardinal Stritch University. Meanwhile, Geneviéve DeBose visited several rural schools in New York and Indiana along with the Department’s Deputy Assistant for Rural Outreach, John White.
  • Meanwhile Classroom Fellows from other regions kicked off a variety of back to school events with Regional Communications Office staff. For example at Claflin College in Orangeburg, SC, Angela McClary-Rush discussed current teaching methods, information sharing and the need for excellent teachers with college students and faculty; At the Texas Education Leadership Summit, Madonna Ramp met with current and future school and school district administrators regarding ED priorities, opportunities for professional development and roundtable discussions around transforming the teaching profession; and in Kansas City, Bruce Wellman engaged math, science and engineering teachers and faculty in discussions regarding education reform and science teacher recruitment and retention.
  • The 2011-2012 Washington Fellows hosted a group of pre-service teachers from Washington College, during which they discussed how we all play a part in creating equal access to education.
  • Bruce Wellman (2011-2012) attended a forum hosted by the local League of Women Voters on the role of the Federal Government in education, during which local stakeholders discussed how they felt about the role of ED in education at the local and state level.  
  • 2008-2009 Fellows James Liou and Steven Berbeco launched the Boston Teaching Fellow program, in partnership with Teach Plus, modeled on the Washington Teaching Ambassador Fellowship. Twenty-five participants have been formally selected and embedded into different offices in the district. 
  • 2011-2012 Fellows Geneviéve DeBose and Shakera Walker attended the Congressional Black Caucus to observe panel discussions on what can be done at a local, state, and federal level to improve the education of black boys and young black men.
  • Sharla Steever (2011-2012) attended the Indian Education Summit in Chamberlain, SD where she facilitated a round table with educators from Crow Creek Reservation and conducted a series of interviews with state educational leaders (including state Secretary of Education Melody Schopp and Indian Ed Director Roger Campbell) for a current project.
  • Madonna Ramp (2011-2012) presented a breakout session and facilitated a roundtable at the First Annual Teach For America Texas School Leadership Summit and spoke about the importance of modeling the leadership we want to see in our schools, even if we aren't in a decision-making role, as part of the closing ceremonies for that same event.
  • James Liou (2008-2009) has started a regular column in the Boston Union Teacher paper called The Teaching Pulse and created an associated website. Its goals are to reach out to other teachers in Boston to encourage a cross-school and cross-city dialogue on issues of teaching practice, teacher leadership and education policy. 

Summer 2011





  • Laurie Calvert worked through December and January with ED's Outreach and Communications Office leaders to create a Teacher Landing Page at Now when teachers visit ED's homepage, they can click on a link entitled Teachers to connect to a page with all things teacher. We are continuing to upgrade the site by posting stories and resources by and for teachers. For example, we just posted helpful materials for teachers to use during Black History Month. Please feel free to share your own thoughts with ED through this interactive medium!

  • Linda Yaron and Steve Owens traveled to Philadelphia with Jo Anderson, Senior Advisor to Secretary Duncan, and led panel discussions with about 30 Massachusetts Teachers Association (MTA) representatives at a Teachers Union Reform Network(TURN) event on the 20th.

  • Tracey Van Dusen accompanied Peter Cunningham, Assistant Secretary for Communications and Outreach, in Detroit on the 21st to observe math classes that integrate technology. They also conducted a teacher round table with about 20 Detroit Public School Teachers. Cunningham then followed Van Dusen to her own Pioneer High School in Ann Arbor where they conducted another round table with 13 teachers and met with her government and social studies students. Van Dusen discusses her experience on our Teachers Blog: Michigan Class Queries Cunningham on ED Policy.

  • Washington Fellows were invited to speak in Arlington, VA on the 21st as part of a National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE) 2011 Study Group on Teacher Preparation, Evaluation, Continuation and Compensation. Participating State Board of Directors members hailed from 16 States.

  • The Teaching Ambassador Fellows prepared and presented a report entitled: National Teacher Voices on the Profession and Evaluation Systems to Secretary Arne Duncan and Assistant Secretary Peter Cunningham on the 24th. The report was based on conversations with a diverse group of teachers from a range of school communities in CA, DE, DC, MD, NY, NC, OR, PA, VA, and WA. The Teaching Ambassador Fellows were able to identify definite themes across the various contexts they visited, including wanting Department officials and the general public to understand teaching as the rigorous and intellectually challenging work that it is. Because teaching is so complex and multifaceted, teachers want evaluation systems that are based largely on meaningful, frequent feedback from trusted, credible sources such as students, parents, peers, and school leaders.

  • Laurie Calvert, after having organized and participated in a webinar on effective teaching with the National Council of Teachers of English's (NCTE) Government Relations Subcommittee, was invited to speak during their planning retreat with Congressional members on Capitol Hill, January 26th.  Over lunch Laurie talked to them about the Teaching Ambassador Fellowship Program, the administration's plans to reauthorize ESEA and ways to continue the dialogue between NCTE and ED.

  • Tracey Van Dusen accompanied Julie Ewart, Senior Public Affairs Specialist for Region V on the 31st, to the Michigan Non-Profit Association's 6th Annual Federal Funders Face to Face Workshop, sponsored by Senator Carl Levin to present information on ED's grant opportunities.

  • Jemal Graham accompanied Jeff Johnson from MSNBC, Congressman John Lewis from Georgia, director Spike Lee and Secretary Duncan at Morehouse College on the 31st to discuss the need for more Black Men in the teaching profession. Check out Jemal's blog about the experience: Secretary Calls Black Men to the Blackboard.

2008 Activities

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Last Modified: 08/07/2012