Survey: Today’s teaching force is less experienced, more open to change
By Jackie Mader
Hechinger Report, October 23, 2012
Teacher-Leader Corps Helps Turn Around Schools
By Stephen Sawchuck
Education Week, April 20, 2011
New Teachers are the New Majority
By Celine Coggins & Heather Peske
Education Week, January 19, 2011
Lesson Plan in Boston Schools: Don’t Go It Alone
By Mike Winerip
New York Times, August 8, 2010
Meet the Memphis Teaching Policy Fellows 2012 Cohort:
Erika M. Ashford
Erika M. Ashford is currently in her 9th year of teaching in the Memphis City Schools District at Ridgeway High School, where she teaches U.S. Government. She holds a B.A. in Political Science, M.A. in Liberal Studies, and M.A.T. in Instruction and Curriculum. Erika brings a wealth of knowledge to the education world from her prior experience teaching at the University of Memphis. She taught classes from History to religion to philosophy. Her vast experience in life makes her an education champion for every student in her classes. In addition to teaching, she has held many leadership roles in her school. She was Small Learning Community Coordinator, E-learning Coordinator, AVID coordinator, active member on the School Leadership team, active member on the High School Redesign team, and the School Improvement plan chairperson over the curriculum committee. Erika makes it clear that every role she takes in life is designed to help others discover their gifts, talents and purpose in life. Outside of the classroom, she enjoys exercising, singing, reading, traveling and spending time with her husband, Radontae, and daughter Ashanti.
Matt has taught history at the Soulsville Charter School for the past two years and is now teaching language arts. He received his Bachelor's Degree in English from Samford University and is currently finishing a Master's Degree in Education at Christian Brothers University. Originally introduced to education through Teach for America, Matt was a seminfinalist for the 2011-2012 TN Charter School Teacher of the Year Award. In addition to his language arts classes, Matt co-founded and runs the Soulsville Honors College, a highly competitive, liberal arts-based track for selected students.
Perry Cleaver is an 8th grade Algebra 1 and Pre-Algebra teacher at Chickasaw Middle School in Memphis, Tn. He has an undergraduate degree in Education with a Master’s degree in Special Education. He currently works as an M-Squared instructor for Memphis City Schools and previously worked with ETS in the Sites-M program. He is a trained mentor for student teachers from University of Memphis and Memphis Teacher Fellows. As a teacher in Tennessee he has been classified as a Level 5 Algebra 1 and Pre-Algebra teacher. He is very passionate about teaching mathematics and helping his students master the content. Outside of the classroom he enjoys coaching basketball, playing competitive softball, and spending time with his wife Chassity and daughter Chloe. He firmly believes that “Teaching is his Calling.”
Tonya Y. Collins is an English Language Learners’ (ELL) teacher who has been with MCS since 2004. Her teaching career started in Namibia when she became a 2002 Teacher for Africa through the International Foundation of Education and Self-Help (IFESH) teaching English at a Business Vocational School. Through her overseas experience, she developed a strong desire to become an advocate for non-English speaking students. Her passion is evident in her classroom teaching styles, parent involvements, community committees, and professional development presentations. Tonya was awarded in 2009 an English Language Fellow (ELF) position through a joint venture with the State Department and Georgetown University where she served a year as a Teacher Trainer in Angola. Tonya earned her degrees from the University of Mississippi with a B.B.A. in Management; M.Ed. in Higher Education and Student Personnel; M.A. in TESOL.
Casie Jones has taught English for Memphis City Schools for three years at MLK Student Transition Academy. Although she is a native of Memphis, Casie spent most of her childhood in Belize, Central America, where her family served as missionaries. After earning a Bachelor’s degree in English Education from John Brown University, she returned to Belize where she taught English, literature, and ESL at her high school alma mater for seven years. During this time, Casie married a Belizean national and had two children, a son and a daughter. When her family relocated to Memphis in 2009, Casie decided to leave the teaching profession. However, her passion for teaching was so strong that she soon joined the staff at MLK Academy, an alternative program to help incarcerated students re-enter traditional schools. She is the Teacher Ambassador, textbook coordinator, and 2011 Prestige Teacher honoree for MLK Academy. As the MLK Lead Core teacher for the common core implementation, Casie is excited about the restructuring of classroom instruction and assessment in her school. She feels privileged to be a part of this cohort of Teach Plus Fellows and is ready to influence reform in education.
Meah Yvette King is a native of Memphis, Tennessee. Meah attended The University of Memphis where she received a Bachelor of Science in English concentrating in Literature. She furthered her education at the University of Memphis achieving a Master of Arts in Instruction and Curriculum. Meah has been successful teaching tenth grade English at her Alma Mater, East High School for nine years, showing her commitment to the betterment of her community and its future. She is the faculty champion of Charles McVean’s Peer Power Foundation formerly Greater East High Foundation. This organization is committed to aiding the East High community as well as other inner city communities to achieve its academic, civic, and economic potential. Meah King was named Educator of the Year with the Memphis Alliance of Black School Educators (2008); University of Memphis Young Alumni of the Year (2009), Memphis City Schools Prestige Award Teacher (2010), Memphis City Schools Golden Apple Award Recipient (2011), and National Milken Family Foundation Educator’s Award (2011).
Joe Koelsch is currently a sixth grade math teacher at KIPP Memphis Collegiate Middle School, where he is just beginning his second year. He first joined the KIPP family in the fall of 2010 at KIPP Academy Nashville after matriculating from the New Teacher Project’s Nashville Teaching Fellows. This year, Joe has been selected to partake in the KIPP Teacher Leader program, and is currently the chair of the Math Department. Before becoming a teacher, Joe earned a BA in Literature from Miami University in Oxford, OH, and spent several years attempting to write professionally. Since then, Joe has attempted a variety of professions, the most recent of which was firefighting and Emergency Medicine with the Defiance Fire Department in Ohio. Through it all, Joe felt the tug of teaching, the love of young people, and a firm belief in the power of education. It was only a matter of time before this calling became loud enough to burst through the walls he had built to protect himself from a career in education. When it finally did, the message was clear and true, and it left no room to argue. “Joe,” it said, “you are a teacher.”
Born and raised in Memphis, TN, Tamera Malone has devoted her life to improving the quality of public education for all of the children in Memphis. Tamera’s passion for public education began while she was a junior at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville where she feels she was called home to work diligently to improve education in Memphis. Her work in Memphis began after she graduated and was accepted into the Memphis Teaching Fellows Program. She is currently entering her fourth year as a high school special education teacher. In the fall of 2011, she earned a Master of Arts in Teaching from the University of Memphis. While Tamera worked diligently in the classroom to serve her students, she wanted to get involved outside of the classroom to be a voice in the decisions being made that affected her students. Tamera sought out local organizations such as Stand For Children and became heavily involved with the group. She has worked with Stand for Children for two years as a teacher leader to organize teachers, parents, and community members to advocate for a better education for students. Tamera is also a member of MPACT Memphis where she serves on the Civics engagement committee. As a member of the committee, she has presented on topics such as “The Role of the School Board,” and has planned and led education discussions with school board members and local education advocacy organizations. Tamera is also one of 30 teachers selected from around the country to join the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Teacher Advisory Council.
As a first generation college graduate, LaTonya has overcome great obstacles in order to achieve a career in education. Because of her background, LaTonya is an intrinsically motivated person that has a special insight about the specific needs of today’s urban youth. In May 2002, LaTonya graduated with a B.A. in Psychology from Fisk University, and she later went on to receive her teacher’s certification and her M.Ed in Curriculum and Instruction from Tennessee State University. Her educational achievements include receiving a Recognition of Excellence for her performance on the Praxis II in 2005, obtaining a TVAAS score of 5 (which indicates being significantly above expectations as an educator), and she was awarded the EPIC Spotlight teacher award for East High School (based on 2011 student gains). Currently, LaTonya serves as the English department chair for Chickasaw Middle School. LaTonya’s teaching skills are not limited to the classroom, because she also serves as one of the teachers for new members at Greater Imani Southwest. Teaching is a gift and a passion for LaTonya, who one day aspires to become a Master Teacher and receive her National Board Certification.
Toni McCray has been teaching first grade for 9 years at Hickory Ridge Elementary School. She is a native of the Memphis area and received both her degrees from the University of Memphis – a B.S. in Elementary Education and an M.S. in Elementary Reading. She loves everything literacy and has presented at the district level on Small Group Management and Literacy Workstations. In 2006, she became a laureate of the Memphis Literacy Academy which was a partnership between the University of Memphis and Memphis City Schools to train teachers how to effectively teach literacy in urban areas. Toni received her National Board Certification in Early/Middle Childhood English and Language Arts in 2010. Toni is also a leader on the school level serving as the website content manager and serving her fourth term as grade chair. She was named WRVR Teacher of the Week in 2005. She received the MATCU One Class at a Time Grant in 2007, and most recently, was a Sonic Drive-In Limeades for Learning Grant recipient in the fall of 2011.
Clarence McFerren II
Clarence McFerren II, native Memphian, received his B.S. in Mass Communication with minors in Dance, Speech and Theater from Middle Tennessee State University, his M.A. in Performing Arts: Dance with a focus in Education along with a graduate certificate in Arts Management from American University in Washington, D.C. He completed his Ed.S. in Educational Leadership at Cambridge College and is currently pursuing a Doctor of Education in Higher Education at Morgan State University. McFerren has served as a finance specialist paratrooper in the U.S. Army, teacher with the D.C. public schools, associate professor of dance at Collin County Community College in Plano, TX, Operations Manager and Development Assistant with the Dallas Black Dance Theatre. Additionally, he has served on the Dallas Independent School Districts K-8 Dance Advisory Board and interned at the National Endowment for the Arts Dance Department. McFerren has served as a member of Americans for the Arts and the Tennessee Arts Commission Advisory Panel. He is a lifetime member of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc., the National, Tennessee and Memphis Education Associations, a Tennessee Notary Public, USA Track & Field Level II sprints, hurdles and relays coach and has a passion for arts in education. As a certified judge with the Miss America program he has judged Teen, Miss and Mrs. Pageants at the local preliminary and state levels in Tennessee, Arkansas, Kentucky, Mississippi and Missouri. He has also judged the National Miss Plus America Pageant. Recently, he was chosen as a part of the 2012 Chinese Bridge for American School Delegation to study arts, culture, athletics and education in Beijing.
Steven T. McKinney is a 10 year educator at Booker T. Washington High School as a math teacher and coach. Steven has been recognized Level 5 Algebra 1 teacher indicating a teacher with one of the highest value added scores in the state of Tennessee. His success in the classroom coupled with school improvements helped Booker T. Washington win the 2011 Race to the Top Commencement challenge. During President Obama's commencement address, the President acknowledged Steven’s success as a classroom teacher and encouraged recognition of such highly effective teachers. Steven was also featured in the article, "Great teaching is no accident or miracle" written by Tamala Boyd, Memphis Teach Plus Executive Director and published in the Commercial Appeal. Steven is an original member of the national organization Education Champions for all Fellowship and was invited to both the 2010 and 2011 Education Nation summits in New York City. During the 2010 summit, Steven was invited to participate in a panel addressing technology integration in the urban classroom. In 2011, he was asked to provide a teacher perspective on the 2011 Education Nation Summit. This perspective titled "A Teachers’ Perspective on NBC's Town Hall,” was published by the Gates foundation on their website. Also in 2011, Steven was selected to represent Memphis City School in the Gates foundation Measurement of Effective Teaching initial finding report in Washington DC. Steven is also a featured teacher in Memphis City Schools – through the “I Teach. I Am.” campaign and a 2011 and 2012 Prestige Teacher award winner.
Krystle McKnight is an 8th grade Algebra I instructor at KIPP Memphis Collegiate Middle School. She is in her fourth year of teaching and currently serves as the grade level chairperson in her building. Krystle earned her Master of Education in 2009 at Middle TN State University where she also served as a graduate assistant. She enjoys researching best teaching practices to apply in her classroom, and she believes strongly in her educational philosophy - that all students can learn and reach the standard of excellence, regardless of their background and circumstances. With motivation and consistent expectations, Krystle illustrates her belief that all students are able to become proficient across the content areas.
Jasmin Merritt has been serving students in Memphis as a special education teacher since 2009. She earned a B.A in History from the University of Maryland as well as a Master’s of Art in Teaching from the University of Memphis. She has served as the Special Education Department Chair as well as a member of the Positive Behavior Intervention Support (PBIS) team during her time as a teacher in Memphis City Schools. On the district level, Jasmin has served as a teacher selector for Teach Memphis in which she interviewed teachers interested in teaching for Memphis City Schools. In her current position at Memphis College Preparatory, Jasmin will serve in a hybrid role. She will continue to provide special education services to students in grades K-5 as well as carry forth formal leadership responsibilities as Director of Student Support.
A native of Chagrin Falls, Ohio, Grant Monda came to Memphis to attend Rhodes College where he graduated in 2010 with a degree in Political Science and a minor in Economics. In 2012 he received his Masters in Education from Christian Brothers University. During his time at Rhodes Grant was the President of the Inter-fraternity Council and Vice President of the Judicial Council. He also won the Robert D. McCallum Competitive Enterprise Award after developing a profitable business in his home town. Following graduation from Rhodes Grant remained in Memphis as part of the Teach For America program. During his two year commitment he taught 7th grade Social Studies at Treadwell Middle School where he also started and coached the boys soccer team. Grant is dedicated to getting the community involved which was key to making sure the soccer program was sustainable. Grant continues to teach seventh grade social studies and has undertaken several new endeavors this year at Treadwell Middle School and within Memphis City Schools.
Erika Nardin teaches 9th grade World History and Psychology at The Soulsville Charter School where she is also the school’s Athletic Director, head of the Social Studies department and assistant basketball coach. Erika is also a graduate of the Memphis Teacher Residency Program. She has a Bachelor’s degree in history from the University of Memphis and a Masters in Education from Union University.
Jane Rezos is currently in her tenth year of teaching and is an eighth grade Pre-Algebra and Algebra I teacher at Bellevue Middle School, a Memphis City school in the Northwest Region. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in mathematics from Eastern Michigan University and a Master Education in Curriculum & Instruction from Union University. Prior to teaching, Jane worked 17 years in the corporate world, most recently in human resources. She has served as the Bellevue Middle School mathematics department chair for the past 3 years and has been an integral member of the school’s discipline committee. She has worked with the Memphis City Schools as a member of the teacher evaluation working group, math curriculum writing team, math textbook adoption team, and is a trained mentor for new teachers. She is a member of the Memphis Education Association, Tennessee Education Association, National Education Association, and the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. Outside of the classroom, Jane enjoys running and will participate this year in her fourth Memphis St. Jude Half Marathon as a St. Jude Hero.
A native Texan, Anna received her Bachelor of Arts in Government and Women’s and Gender Studies from the University of Texas at Austin in 2010 before moving to Memphis. Through Teach For America she taught 5th, 6th, and 7th grade science and 2nd grade as a founding teacher at OMNI Prep Academy while completing her Master of Education at Christian Brothers University. In 2012, Anna began teaching 6th grade science at Westside Achievement Middle School in the Achievement School District.
Joy was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma where she developed a love for music. She currently plays flute for the Temple of Deliverance Orchestra. Joy moved with her family to Memphis, Tennessee where she later graduated from Overton High School, and attended The University of Tennessee at Martin with a music scholarship. After being hit by a drunk driver in a car accident, Joy thought she would never accomplish her purpose, but God encourage her to continue her dream of becoming an educator. She later transferred to The University of Memphis, where she received a Bachelor of Science in Education in 2002. Then in 2004 through 2006, she attended Union University where she received Masters of Education and Educational Specialist degrees. In 2006, Joy was initiated in the Kappa Delta Pi International Honor Society in Education. In 2008, Joy received her National Board Certification in Generalist/Middle Childhood. In May of 2009, Joy received her Doctorate of Education degree from The University of Mississippi, where she also received Outstanding Student in the Curriculum & Instructions department. Also in 2009, Joy published her dissertation, The Effects of Directed Reading-Thinking Activity (DR-TA) on Third Grade Student's Reading Comprehension in Rural School Districts, with ProQuest publishing. She is currently teaching third grade at Double Tree Elementary Montessori School. During Joy’s tenure with Memphis City Schools, she has experienced many opportunities to develop leadership roles as grade chair, technology instructor for GOT TECH camp, Memphis Education Association Representative, Double Tree’s Coordinator for AdvancEd review, and most recently certified as an AdvancEd TN Quality Team Member. Joy is honored to become a Memphis Teaching Policy Fellow which energizes educators to become vocal in their profession. Throughout her teaching career, Joy has stressed to her students that “Perseverance plus hard work equals success.” The passion of teaching is what enables Joy to continue to motivate students to discover their dreams. Throughout every endeavor in her educational journey, Joy’s husband, Derek, and family have been her strength and encouragement.
Tina Sizer is a 2nd Grade teacher at Winchester Elementary in Memphis, Tennessee. She has served the children of Memphis City Schools for 9 years. She has a Master’s in Teaching from the University of Memphis and an Ed.S from Union University. Tina worked as a Mentor teacher at Lester School for 4 novice teachers and as a Mentor Teacher for Memphis Teacher Residency program for the past 3 years. She is part of the initial class of the Memphis Literacy Academy. Tina has facilitated many professional development opportunities related to Common Core and math practices at the MCS Practitioners’ Summit and various schools across the district. In addition, Tina has served on several district workgroups including the Teacher Content Knowledge workgroup for the TEM and several textbook adoption committees. Tina played a vital role in the implementation of the Standards Based Report to Families throughout the district. She has worked with many teachers across the state in several workgroups through the Tennessee Education Association, including facilitating the “I Can Do It” classroom management sessions. Her most current project is a Mentor teacher for the Model Math program and revising the district’s instructional maps to reflect the new Common Core standards. Tina is dedicated to serving students, developing leaders and impacting generations.
Peter Tang is currently a seventh grade math teacher at Kate Bond Middle School, where he serves as the math department chairperson, on the Site-Based Decision Making Council, and as an assistant coach for the girls’ soccer team. Prior to teaching math, he taught English at East High School during his first year as a Teach for America corps member and for an English-immersion program in Hong Kong. He is also a Senior Fellow with Humanity in Action, an international educational organization. A native of Brooklyn, NY, Peter received his Bachelor of Arts in History from Amherst College.
Germaine Thurman teaches 8th grade Algebra I and Pre-Algebra at Wooddale Middle School. He has also served the past three years as a teacher with the Memphis City School’s M Squared math enrichment program and the past two years as a math teacher with the University of Memphis STEM academy. At Wooddale Middle, Germaine chairs the Mathematics Department and works as a volunteer assistant with the football team. Prior to entering the teaching profession, Germaine spent almost fifteen years as a licensed civil engineering consultant. He designed several multi-million dollar projects in the east Tennessee and metro Atlanta areas. Germaine received his Bachelor of Science (civil engineering) degree from the University of Tennessee. He received his Master of Arts (Instruction and Curriculum Leadership) degree from the University of Memphis, where he was also a recipient of the Memphis Mathematics and Science Teacher Induction Fellowship. Germaine is actively advocating for an improved future of the education profession as he serves on the district’s Teacher Compensation Working Group.
Josalyn Tresvant McGhee presently teaches at Knight Road Elementary School where she has served as a Special Education Teacher in the Instructional Resource Program since 2009. She has worked on the Leadership and PBIS teams respectively. Josalyn credits her professional growth and success to the leadership at Knight Road and the collaborative culture fostered by her fellow educators. Her esteemed colleagues recently selected Josalyn as their 2012 Prestige Award Honoree. She was a member of the 2009 TNTP/Memphis Teaching Fellows Cohort. After successfully completing her professional training with MTF, Josalyn went on to serve as a Seminar Instructor, Fellow Advisor and Operations Intern for the 2010 and 2011 Memphis Teaching Fellows Cohorts. Her educational credits include a B.A. in Communication from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, a Masters in Business Administration from Union University, and she recently completed her MAT certification coursework in Special Education at the University of Memphis. She is currently a candidate for National Board Certification in Special Education.
Karen Vogelsang entered the teaching profession nearly ten years ago. She currently teaches 2nd grade at Keystone Elementary School. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from the University of Southern Mississippi and spent fourteen years in banking before entering the field of education. She earned her Master’s Degree in Elementary Education from the University of Memphis in 2003. In 2007 she became a National Board Certified Teacher in Early Childhood. The following year she began mentoring candidates pursuing National Board Certification and discovered a new passion helping other teachers pursue the rigorous certification process. In 2009 Karen worked with a small group of teachers to create an outdoor classroom at Keystone. She is passionate about helping students’ learn through the outdoors and in 2011 was a White-Reinhardt Scholarship recipient. As a result of this work the classroom has been recognized as a Certified Wildlife Habitat by the National Wildlife Federation, as well as Garden of the Year by the Commercial Appeal. Karen currently serves as a board member for the Tennessee Environmental Education Association. Karen recently received a fellowship from The Martin Institute to attend Harvard’s Project Zero Institute.