JerseyCAN Celebrates Its First Graduating Class of NJ Teacher Leader Policy Fellows!

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(This is a press release.)

In a graduation ceremony earlier this month, JerseyCAN, a nonprofit advocating for high-quality schools for all New Jersey students, proudly celebrated the graduation of the 2021-2022 New Jersey Teacher Leader Policy Fellows.  Video highlights of the event and this year’s fellowship can be found here.

“The New Jersey Teacher Leader Policy Fellowship is one of the most respected teacher development initiatives in the state,” stated JerseyCAN Executive Director, Patricia Morgan.  “The application process is highly competitive and a great deal of work and investment has gone into developing the program.  The commitment to complete the Fellowship is both rigorous and rewarding. It is a great opportunity for teachers throughout the state to come together to learn from one another, but also to get inspired and supported to advocate around topics they are most passionate about.  Our graduation day was a wonderful moment to celebrate the great teachers we have in New Jersey.”

The New Jersey Teacher Leader Policy Fellowship is a year-long statewide program for New Jersey teachers to engage in education policy and advocacy.  Over the course of one year, ten New Jersey Teacher Leader Policy Fellowship Participants (Fellows) come together to discuss the latest policy trends and issues in New Jersey education.  In addition to gaining a deeper understanding of the state’s education policy landscape and expanding their knowledge of local, state, and national governance, the Fellowship allows the selected teachers to network with elected leaders and influential educational stakeholders and build strong engagement and advocacy skills.  As part of the Fellowship, each teacher also develops a personal project representing a policy issue related to their passions and interests.  In addition to engaging in high-quality professional learning and development opportunities, Fellows also receive a $2,000 stipend for their commitment to this work.  A complete list of this year’s graduating class can be found here.

“The Fellowship has been such a wonderful experience,” stated Cedric Thorbes, Administrator at Achieve Clinton Hill Charter School.  “I am so proud of the work we have done this year and so excited to bring the learning lessons back to my classroom.  The work we accomplished in the Fellowship was impactful, empowering, and life-changing.  I am so grateful to be part of this year’s graduating class and know I have built strong relationships that will continue in the years to come.”

The Fellowship was first launched in 2020 and was founded with the hope of empowering New Jersey teachers to positively influence the state and local education policy as classroom teachers.  The best teachers in the country are often drawn away from the direct impact they provide in the classroom and look to take on roles such as principal or supervisor to have more significant influence over education systems and policies. Over the past two years, there have been 22 graduates of the NJ Teacher Leader Policy Fellowship. Applications for 2022-2023 will be available shortly at jerseycan.org.

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