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Teach For America St. Louis Announces Program to Retain and Support Excellent Teachers

Fellowship Brings Teachers Together to Advance Student Learning across Greater St. Louis Schools

November 18, 2021

ST. LOUIS, Mo. — Teach For America (TFA) St. Louis welcomed a cohort of 11 teachers to its new Instructional Excellence Fellowship, a six-month professional development program that invests in teachers with a track record of strong student learning outcomes. The program brings together a diverse pool of effective teachers across the Greater St. Louis area to foster collaboration, share innovative practices and problem-solve around one of today’s most pressing classroom challenges, engaging all learners. 

The program is among several initiatives launched by TFA St. Louis as part of its long-term goal to double the number of students in St. Louis schools reaching key educational milestones by 2030. To reach that goal, the organization has shifted its focus from recruiting and developing early-career teachers to investing in the development and impact of local leadership talent, including more than 600 TFA alumni. 

The Instructional Excellence Fellowship is specifically designed to support and retain mid-career teachers with more than four years’ of experience in the classroom. 

“We’re doubling down on retaining and supporting teachers in St. Louis, because we know that an effective teacher can transform a child’s entire life trajectory,” said Elizabeth Bleier, executive director of TFA St. Louis. “We seek to create a space for some of the best teachers to come together and discuss innovative ideas, challenges, and practices across school types, and bring learnings back to their schools and communities. Our hope is that this initiative will not only strengthen student experiences and learning outcomes in classrooms, but encourage more coalition-building and collaboration across the St. Louis education community.”

The first cohort for the fellowship includes 11 teachers across multiple school districts, and nearly 40 percent are educators of color:

  • Amy Gregory, Southeast Middle School, Hazelwood School District
  • Amy Grove, Collinsville Middle School, Collinsville Community Unit School District
  • Ashley Hagerty, Hollenbeck Middle School, Francis Howell School District
  • Blair Hopkins, Parkway West High School, Parkway School District
  • Colette Morton, Gateway STEM High School, St. Louis Public School District
  • Emilia Belciak, Kairos Academies
  • Jamorie Johnson, KIPP Triumph Academy Middle School
  • Joy Rogers, Jury Elementary, Hazelwood School District
  • Lynda Ha, Northside Community Middle School
  • Sarah Becvar, Saint Louis University High School
  • Dr. Sheriah Mason, Keysor Elementary School, Kirkwood School District

Participants will engage in more than 20 hours of collaborative cohort meetings, professional development, and career discussions. Additionally, they will each receive a $500 award, which can be put towards either classroom supplies or a portion of the cost to pursue National Board Certification, a prestigious credentialing program that recognizes outstanding teaching.

To learn more about TFA St. Louis, visit or follow them on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

About Teach For America

Teach For America works in partnership with 350 urban and rural communities across the country to expand educational opportunity for children. Founded in 1990, Teach For America recruits and develops a diverse corps of outstanding leaders who make an initial two-year commitment to teach in high-need schools and become lifelong leaders in the effort to end educational inequity. Today, Teach For America is a force of over 64,000 alumni and corps members working in over 9,000 schools nationwide in pursuit of profound systemic change. From classrooms to districts to state houses across America, they are reimagining education to realize the day when every child has an equal opportunity to learn, lead, thrive, and co-create a future filled with possibility. Teach For America is a proud member of the AmeriCorps national service network. For more information, visit and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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Richard Callow

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