Teach For America and The Leon Levine Foundation Appoint Inaugural Levine Fellows


Charlotte, NC, February 1, 2010Teach For America Corps Members Selected for Fellowships Will Help Inform Foundation’s Efforts to Support Academic Excellence for All

For Immediate Release

Contact: Emily Del Pino | Teach For America
212-279-2080 x619 | emily.delpino@teachforamerica.org

CHARLOTTE, N.C., February 1, 2010—Teach For America and the Leon Levine Foundation today announced the inaugural class of Levine Fellows, selected from the current Teach For America corps in Charlotte. Teach For America corps members commit to teach for two years in urban and rural public schools and become lifelong leaders in the pursuit of educational equity.

The Leon Levine Foundation and Teach For America selected the Levine Fellows based on their exceptional achievement in college or previous careers and their commitment to service and philanthropy in their communities. The five fellows in the inaugural class will provide regular updates on their classrooms, schools, and teaching experiences in order to help the foundation learn more about the challenges and possibilities facing public school systems, teachers, and students in low-income communities. The 2009 Levine Fellows are:

• Erica Davis (Charlotte Corps ’09) is a graduate of Emory University, where she majored in sociology and       psychology. She volunteered at the Women’s Resource Center to End Domestic Violence, served as a peer counselor at the Emory University Counseling Center and worked as a tutor through Hand’s on Atlanta. Erica teaches seventh grade science at Wilson Middle School.

• Kaitlin Kotsko (Charlotte Corps ’09) came to Teach For America after graduating from the University of Georgia with a degree in social work. She was the site leader for University of Georgia’s Alternative Spring Break and was the leader of a mentoring program for public school students on her college’s campus. Kaitlin teaches English as a Second Language at Albermarle Road Elementary School.

• Aviran Sethi (Charlotte Corps ’09) majored in finance and marketing at the University of Minnesota. Today he teaches math at Garinger High School and was chosen as a Levine Fellow for his leadership skills which include serving as president of a college honors society and working as leader of the Carlson Buddies and Mentorship Programs.

• Miya Stodghill (Charlotte Corps ’09) earned a finance degree at Elon University. She was the recipient of the Love Award for Excellence in Business Leadership while at Elon and worked as Executive Vice President of the Alpha Kappa Psi Fraternity. Miya teaches kindergarten at Windsor Park Elementary School.

• Rashid Williams (Charlotte Corps ’09) graduated from Florida State University and went on to receive his master of divinity degree from the Interdenominational Theological Center. Rashid interned with the Southern Education Foundation’s Summer Leadership Initiatives Program before joining the Institute for Faith-Health Leadership and becoming a minister. Today, Rashid teaches seventh grade social studies at Martin Luther King, Jr. Middle School.

“Leon and Sandra Levine’s service and generosity to our community is an inspiration to our organization, and we’re honored by their continued support,” said Tim Hurley, executive director of Teach For America in Charlotte. “We are thrilled to be able to recognize these dedicated teachers as Levine Fellows and to celebrate their tireless efforts to lead their students to achieve success. Their work exemplifies at the highest level our mission to end educational inequity.”

The Leon Levine Foundation focuses its giving in four areas: religion, education, health care, and human services. As part of its education focus, the foundation supports individuals and institutions seeking academic excellence and providing access for disadvantaged and deserving individuals.

“We are constantly impressed with the commitment and impact of Charlotte’s Teach For America teachers,” said Tom Lawrence, executive director of The Leon Levine Foundation. “Because these dedicated individuals work so hard not only in the class room, but also stand out in their service to the community, we are proud to distinguish them as Levine Fellows. They truly embody the characteristics we believe so important to the benefit of our society.”

Teach For America and the Leon Levine Foundation have also established the Leon Levine Leadership Circle as part of their ongoing partnership. The Leon Levine Leadership Circle is meant to encourage Teach For America donors to support the organization’s work in Charlotte with commitments from new individual donors or current supporters who wish to make an additional investment in 2010.

The Leon Levine Foundation awarded $1 million to Teach For America in Charlotte this June. The grant, to be distributed over the next three years, will support Teach For America’s efforts to recruit, train, and support more of our nation’s outstanding future leaders who aspire to teach in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools. The current Teach For America corps in Charlotte totals more than 225 first- and second-year teachers who are reaching more than 14,000 local students.

A growing body of research on Teach For America demonstrates the effectiveness of corps members in the classroom. In March, the Urban Institute updated its 2008 study examining the impact of Teach For America corps members on high school students in North Carolina. The update confirmed that corps members have a positive effect on student achievement relative to other teachers, including experienced teachers, traditionally prepared teachers, and those fully certified in their field.

Beyond their impact in the classroom, Teach For America alumni are working as teachers, principals, and leaders who continue to advocate for children and families in low-income communities. Of the 17,000 Teach For America alumni across the country, nearly 450 serve as school principals or superintendents, more than 500 work in government or policy, and more than 25 serve as elected officials.

About Teach For America
Teach For America is the national corps of outstanding recent college graduates who commit to teach for two years in urban and rural public schools and become lifelong leaders in expanding educational opportunity. Today, 7,300 corps members are teaching in 35 regions across the country while 17,000 Teach For America alumni continue working from inside and outside the field of education for the fundamental changes necessary to ensure educational excellence and equity. For more information, visit www.teachforamerica.org.


About Teach For America
Teach For America works in partnership with communities to expand educational opportunity for children facing the challenges of poverty. Founded in 1990, Teach For America recruits and develops a diverse corps of outstanding college graduates and professionals to make an initial two-year commitment to teach in high-need schools and become lifelong leaders in the movement to end educational inequity. Today, 10,600 corps members are teaching in 50 urban and rural regions across the country while more than 37,000 alumni work across sectors to ensure that all children have access to an excellent education. For more information, visit www.teachforamerica.org and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.