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Two TFA-DFW Teachers Win National Award

Two TFA-DFW Teachers Win National Award

By The TFA Editorial Team

August 12, 2014

Teach For America – Dallas-Fort Worth is excited to recognize two outstanding teachers in our region. Shirley Bolden (DFW ’12) and Mary Cooper (DFW ’12) were both honored with the Sue Lehmann Excellence in Teaching Award – two of five winners nationwide. This award recognizes second-year corps members from across the country who have inspired their students to achieve remarkable success.

This news affirms our regional focus on defining excellence in teaching and coaching corps members to achieve it. Corps members in Dallas-Fort Worth are setting the bar for successful teaching within our organization, and we are so happy to see their hard work for students being recognized in this prestigious way. Of course, none of this would have been possible without the many ways each one of you champion TFA in our community.

Visit our Facebook page to see photos of Shirley and Mary in their classrooms.

Shirley Bolden

Shirley is from Detroit and graduated from Michigan State University with a journalism degree. Shirley taught 6th grade English language arts at Benjamin Franklin Middle School in North Dallas during the 2013-2014 school year. She encouraged her students to use their unique voices to speak up against issues they faced in their communities and share their truth through stories. Shirley’s students wrote with strong convictions, asked critical questions of the world around them, and demonstrated a true joy for independent reading.

Read Shirley’s classroom vision

Mary Cooper

Mary is from Nashville and graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Mary taught physics and AP physics at Wilmer-Hutchins High School in South Dallas during the 2013-2014 school year. In her classroom – nicknamed Coop D’Ville by her students – students used physics to explain how the world works and found profound joy and satisfaction in tackling difficult problems. Mary’s headline for her classroom vision was: “We are thinkers, leaders, and creators.”

Read Mary’s classroom vision

About the Sue Lehmann Excellence in Teaching Award

The Sue Lehmann Excellence in Teaching Award was created in honor of longtime Teach For America national board member Sue Lehmann. The annual award recognizes and celebrates the finest in teaching among TFA corps members nationwide.

  • Only 5 corps members nationwide were recognized with this award.
  • 118 corps members were nominated for this distinction
  • All 6,000 second-year corps members were eligible

This is the first time that a corps member from DFW has received this honor, and DFW is the only region in recent history to have two award winners in the same year. DFW is one of the youngest regions ever to have corps members honored with this distinction.

The award selection process is an opportunity for TFA to research what transformational learning looks like and how to better train and support our teachers to be high impact instructional and cultural leaders in their classrooms and at their schools.

The following criteria are used to determine nominations for this award:

  • Will students emerge from this classroom on an enduring trajectory filled with opportunities for success in college and life?
  • Are students on a mission – working hard with passion, joy, and urgency – to a goal they deeply own?
  • Are students engaging with and mastering the content and skills needed to be on a path for college?
  • Is this corps member developing into an inspired, transformative leader for educational equity, today and long-term?