Teach For America Twin Cities Launches Policy Fellowship for Education Leaders
Fellowship to Equip Community Leaders with Skills and Knowledge in Policy, Advocacy, and Organizing
October 27, 2021
Teach For America (TFA) Twin Cities today announced its first cohort of educators, consultants and non-profit professionals for its Policy Fellowship, which provides participants with the knowledge and skill-building opportunities relevant to state-level education policy to take action on pressing issues in partnership with local communities.
The fellowship will bring together a diverse network of leaders to deepen their awareness of the policy landscape, exchange ideas, build curiosity and take collective action to advance student-centric and community-based initiatives that bring about positive change. It seeks to instill knowledge and skills about the local policy process, advocacy, and organizing among its ten participants, many of whom work in schools or at nonprofit organizations. Fifty percent of the fellows identify as BIPOC, forty percent identify as coming from a low-income background and fifty percent are first-generation college graduates. At the culmination of the fellowship in June 2022, fellows will also have the opportunity to pitch policy project ideas to receive a micro-grant.
Krista Kaput, research director at EdAllies, will lead facilitation for the inaugural year of the fellowship.
“As a former public school teacher, I know what it feels like to be excluded from having a voice and choice in decisions that impact you, your students, and your school,” said Kaput, a TFA alumna. “I also know from working in state education policy, that the process can be confusing, opaque, and hard to navigate. My goal is that this policy fellowship will lift the curtain so that more educators will gain the knowledge, skills, and resources to get involved in the policy making process. I also hope that they will take the knowledge and skills that they learn in this fellowship back to their communities so more educators, families, and students can also engage in shaping decisions that impact them.”
Since 2009, TFA Twin Cities has recruited and developed more than 330 teachers who have led classrooms impacting more than 32,000 students in Minneapolis and St. Paul. Today, they have an alumni community of 850 leading in classrooms, schools, nonprofit, government, and other major sectors and fields inside and outside of local education systems. The organization aims to improve educational outcomes and opportunity for all Twin Cities students not only through recruiting and developing effective teachers but also by retaining and advancing the leadership talent—particularly leaders of color—of its alumni.
“Minnesota is often highlighted as a state with one of the highest qualities of life, yet education outcomes for our low-income students and students of color are among the worst in the nation. Our community must address the racial and economic disparities that are the root cause of this issue and reimagine education so that all children can learn, lead and thrive,” said Mikisha Nation, executive director of Teach For America Twin Cities. “This Policy Fellowship is one way to explore content and context around current issues in our state, major changes over the last 10 years, and critical actions needed to foster a greater and more inclusive education experience for all students.”
The policy fellowship is one of several key initiatives the organization is launching to drive towards its new 10-year goal: by 2030, TFA aims to double the number of students reaching educational milestones, indicating they’re on a path to economic mobility and a future filled with possibility.
The first cohort of policy fellows are:
- Katie Hayes Antelo, Education Consultant
- Markus Flynn, Executive Director at Black Men Teach
- Tom Krueger, District Out of School Time Manager at Roseville Area Schools
- Skyler Kuczaboski, 2nd and 3rd Grade Teacher at Bdote Learning Center
- Stephanie Millar, Director of School Improvement at Venture Academies
- Nadia Nibbs, Seasonal, Senior Manager, Academies at TNTP
- Brendan O'Shea, Learning Lead at Saint Paul Public Schools
- Collete Owens, Literacy Coach at the Groves Literacy Partnership
- Xue Lin Wang, 4th Grade Teacher at Hiawatha Academies
- Liz Williams, Program Officer, Career Academies at Greater Twin Cities United Way
TFA Twin Cities expanded the fellowship opportunity to individuals beyond their alumni network, and 20 percent of fellows are not TFA alumni.
To learn more about the TFA Twin Cities Policy Fellowship and this year’s fellows, visit http://www.teachforamerica.org/stories/twincities-2021-2022-policyfellows, or follow them on Facebook and Instagram.
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 www.teachforamerica.org and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.