Montana teachers are part of a new generation of education leaders.
Thirty-two Montana teachers have been selected to participate in the national Teacher Leadership Initiative, a program to develop a new generation of leaders within the teaching profession.
The Teacher Leadership Initiative (TLI) is a joint project of the National Education Association (NEA), the Center for Teaching Quality (CTQ) and the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (National Board).
The partnership also includes state affiliates of the NEA. In Montana, the state affiliate is MEA-MFT, Montana’s union for teachers and other public employees.
MEA-MFT recruited 32 Montana teachers to participate in the project. They join educators from Arizona, Colorado, Hawaii, Iowa, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Mississippi, Utah, Maryland, and Ohio.
“We have so many teachers with the talent, fresh ideas, and expertise to help improve education at the local, state, and national levels,” said MEA-MFT President Eric Feaver.
“Most of them don’t want to leave the classroom and become administrators, and they shouldn’t have to do that in order to take leadership roles. This initiative recognizes that the lines of distinction between those who teach in our k-12 schools and those who lead them are blurring, and rightly so.”
“Positive change in education must be driven by the teaching profession and shaped by the experience of teachers working in classrooms,” said NEA President Lily Eskelsen Garcia. “This initiative will develop expertise and engage thousands of teacher leaders in leadership work in schools—because every student should have the best possible educators in their schools.”
MEA-MFT hosted a statewide meeting of Montana participants in October and recruited two coaches to lead the statewide group: Shelly Stanton of Billings and Anne Keith of Bozeman. Both are National Board Certified teachers, and Anne Keith is the 2010 Montana Teacher of the Year.
Teachers participating in the initiative can choose one of three leadership strands: instructional, policy, or union leadership. Teachers earn $1,000 by participating. Each teacher must produce a “capstone project” in one of the three areas.
“This is an exciting project,” said MEA-MFT Public Policy Director Marco Ferro. “It’s all about tapping the expertise of the people in the classroom to give Montana students an even better education.”
Missoula: Crista Anderson (Missoula Elementary), Kathleen Devlin (Franklin Elementary School), and Mary Lyndes (Franklin Elementary School)
Helena: Trish Klock (Helena High School), Melissa Romano (Four Georgians Elementary), Jane Shawn (Four Georgians Elementary), and Jacob West (Ray Bjork Learning Center)
Great Falls: Christine Hinkle and Lee Ruud
Glasgow: Carla Swenson (R. L. Irle School)
Bozeman area: Tara Covington (Hyalite Elementary), Kristi Gaines (Meadowlark Elementary), Kelly Jones (Morning Star Elementary), Anne Keith (Emily Dickinson Elementary), Elizabeth Matthews (Gallatin Gateway School), and Christine Rasmussen (Meadowlark Elementary)
Billings: Ann Brucker (Billings Public Schools), Marne Burt (Lewis & Clark Middle School), Katherine Cordes (Billings Senior High), Sara Hagen Hull (Billings Senior High), Rachel Schillreff (Billings West High), Shelly Stanton (Billings Public Schools), and Michael Walz (Skyview High)
Kalispell: Kelli Turner (Lillian Peterson Elementary)
Anaconda: Liz Tuss (Anaconda High School)