Amy Collinge: Dedicated to Systemic Educational Equity
Amy wants to have a bigger, more systemic impact on multilingual learning.
November 9, 2022
Amy Collinge, a Teach for America alumna who completed her corps service in Phoenix from 2004 until 2006, moved home to Idaho in 2018 and hopes to move from teaching into school administration as soon as next school year.
While she deeply values the daily interaction with students and families teaching brings, Amy wants to have a bigger, more systemic impact on multilingual learning than a single classroom teacher can exert. She is currently a multilingual learner’s specialist at South Junior High School in the Boise School District.
“Coming back to Idaho was a pretty intentional decision, and I knew that in coming back, I wanted to be part of helping to strengthen our school system and increase access to opportunity for all of our students,” Amy said."
“Coming back to Idaho was a pretty intentional decision, and I knew that in coming back, I wanted to be part of helping to strengthen our school system and increase access to opportunity for all of our students.”
Amy has taken a three-pronged approach to developing her leadership qualifications. First, at the urging of a colleague she enrolled in a graduate program in executive educational leadership at Boise State University. She will complete that course of study next spring. “It's been such an amazing opportunity,” she said. “I'm in a cohort of educators from all over the state. And the focus is really on system level leadership.”
After finishing her first year of graduate studies, Amy was looking for a summer leadership experience. And that’s how she connected with TFA Idaho, which was looking for someone to run the teacher leadership side of its inaugural summer school program, developed in partnership with the Payette School District.
“I was really excited about the opportunity to help lead that project, and also the professional development opportunity,” Amy said. “That's something I love about Teach for America: they're skilled at connecting corps members and alumni with great opportunities.”
Having a chance to work with young corps members and mentor teachers provided Amy with invaluable leadership experience. And, she said, working in a rural district provided her with a fresh perspective as well.
Reconnecting with TFA also brought Amy the third opportunity for professional growth. She joined TFA’s Aspiring Leaders Fellowship. Through the fellowship, Amy gets to work one-on-one with a leadership coach. “This gives me some support as I think about how to make these switching lanes transition to a more formal school leadership role,” she said.
“This gives me some support as I think about how to make these switching lanes transition to a more formal school leadership role.”
“I've been in schools in a teaching capacity and a coaching capacity for a long time. So, I feel like instruction and family engagement and communication, those are some of my strengths. But then things that I got to really learn more about this summer and then I'm hoping to continue to learn more about are building and district level organization and leadership. My coach is working with me on really supporting me on those learning journeys.”
Amy’s next step is to apply through her school district for an assistant principal position somewhere in Boise. While it will be difficult to leave the classroom, the potential to effect systemic change is drawing her onto this new path.
“From a classroom role, we keep running into the same obstacles,” Amy said. “The experience of the pandemic really opened my eyes to that. Every single one of us can’t be reinventing the wheel every day. There must be some systemic ways to make access to equitable, excellent education, something that is just part of how our system works, instead of something we have to bend the system to make work for some students.”