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Back to School Message From Executive Director Mikisha Nation

Teach For America Twin Cities is excited to lead our corps members, alumni and students into another exciting school year!

Teach For America Twin Cities 2019 Corps Members

Dear Community Member, 

The start of school year is always an exciting season, bringing new routines and learnings to my work with our team, corps members, and alumni at Teach For America along with a sense of excitement personally for my family. This September marks the first year that all three of my boys are off to school! Before the school year started, my husband and I had the opportunity to travel abroad connecting with close friends in London and renewing our own sense of wonder as we took in the history, culture, and food of Italy.

During my time away, I reflected on the current state of progress for children in Minnesota along with aspirations for my three boys. As you may have seen in the recent Star Tribune article, Minnesota is not providing all students with an excellent education. In fact, our state experienced declines in academic proficiency on the state assessment with little to no movement on the gap between white students and students of color, students from linguistically diverse, immigrant, and native American/indigenous backgrounds. In the midst of these challenges, my hope comes from the growing number of individuals in our community working to advance education equity. I’m in awe of the community support shown during our anniversary gala this past June, where we raised over $160,000 to fuel our efforts, and celebrated the progress of our collective work with over 200 of our closest partners. Of course, we are not in this work alone. We launched a corps member and alumni profile series that shares highlights and elevates the individuals behind our work.

Mikisha Nation and her three boys: Desmond, Marcellus, and Victor.

We start the 2019 school year with over 825 alumni and 37 current corps members teaching in six school networks across the Twin Cities. Forty five percent of our first-year corps members identify as people of color and over half come from low-income communities. We are leveraging our alumni network more than ever to drive community partnerships and widen our regional impact. Our alumni board network includes over 30 alums encompassing three boards: Alumni Board, the Collective (alumni of color) and PRISM (LGBTQ). In exciting news, we hired our new Director of Talent, Operations and Impact – Toby Schneiderwho will support our alumni work directly, along with our larger talent strategy and internal operations. Toby brings over 20 years of leadership experience ranging from the US Navy to Fortune 50 companies. We look forward to the diverse perspective that he will bring to our community. 

Through our working partnership with TNTP to provide alternative certification and licensure, we hope to provide areas of special education and elementary by 2020, while continuing our partnership with St. Mary’s for middle and secondary certification. This is a breakthrough opportunity providing an affordable and rigorous preparation pathway for a greater diversity of teachers.

In the coming months we plan to provide opportunities for collaboration to influence actions around strengthening educational equity. Stay tuned to our social media and website for more information. We know that this work would not be possible without you, and we are so grateful your support. As always, please feel free to reach out to me (612.297.1790 or mikisha.nation@teachforamerica.org) at any time.

With gratitude,

 

Mikisha Nation
Executive Director

Teach For America Twin Cities

Mikisha and TNTP partners Garima Bhatt Handley (Baltimore '09 alum) and Bonnie Driscoll (Memphis '07 alum) from earlier this year at a partnership meeting.