Three North Carolina-based alumni were awarded fellowships through Teach For America’s Black Educator Promise program, a year-long program to support and develop Black educators in the American South.
December 1, 2021
North Carolina-based alumni Nicollette Jones-Flowers (CPT ‘18), Gregsha’ Lee (CPT ‘18), and Cameo Nichols (Greater Delta ‘17) were recently awarded development fellowships through Teach For America’s Black Educator Promise program. In partnership with The Children’s Defense Fund (CDF) Freedom Schools® program, these alumni will have access to the inaugural Ella Baker Child Policy Training Institute Professional Development Seminar, a year-long program to support and develop Black educators in the American South. Nicollette, Gregsha’, and Cameo represent three of ten fellows awarded this opportunity.
Studies, stories, and student experience all show the immense impact having a Black teacher has on the lives of Black students and all students, including increased graduation rates, greater social-emotional development, and improved social mobility. And yet, only 7 percent of teachers in U.S. public schools are Black. This new partnership between CDF and TFA aims to not only attract Black educators to the teaching profession, but also to ensure that they have the support and professional development needed to sustain and advance their careers as they pursue educational equity and inspire the next generation of Black youth.
Nicollette Jones-Flowers is a fourth year teacher, leading first graders with the Guilford eLearning Virtual Academy. Over the past year or so, she’s developed a talent and love for curriculum development, and intends to utilize the grant to continue sharpening her skills.
“It was one of those things--you don’t know until you do it,” says Nicollette. “I really found a love for curriculum writing and development, and got really good at making plans, going through standards, building lesson plans and powerpoints. That’s what I want to do, stay in education.”
Gregsha’ Lee is a fourth-year Science teacher at James B. Dudley High School who cares deeply about teacher retention, so that her students can continue to see people who look like them leading classrooms. Her goal with this opportunity is to continue researching and developing systems to support black educators.
“Education can be a hard space for black people to operate in, for a host of reasons,” says Gregsha’. “Black educators give and give of themselves, and want so much for their students. We see ourselves in them, they’re us; our children, our siblings; our younger selves so the investment is completely different. The gravity of what’s at stake for us can lead to burn out. And when they don’t return, the cycle continues for their students.”
Cameo Nichols was not available for comment.
Join us in congratulating the efforts of our local Black Education Promise Fellows. We look forward to the impact they will continue to make as educators and leaders!