Westside Achievement Teacher Anna Russo Selected to Teaching Policy Fellowship

By Achievement School District

Teach Plus, a national non-profit organization based in Boston, offers opportunities for results-driven teachers to CONNECT with peers and national and local education policy leaders, LEARN about and generate innovative ideas, and MAKE AN IMPACT within the teaching profession. Teach Plus Memphis has recently selected 25 high-performing teachers from traditional district, charter, transition, and achievement schools in Memphis to become Teaching Policy Fellows.  These teachers have a range of 2-10 years of teaching experience and want to continue teaching while also engaging in “big picture” education reform initiatives. Along with teacher leaders in five other major American cities, the Fellows will participate in leadership opportunities designed to amplify the voice of effective classroom teachers.

During the 16-month program, Teaching Policy Fellows will gain a foundation in education policy, research, and best practices from around the nation that will enable them to advocate effectively for policies that will better serve students and retain excellent teachers.  Together, they will choose areas of teacher quality policy on which to focus. The Teaching Policy Fellowship offers teachers opportunities to analyze innovative policy initiatives, share their ideas directly with local and national leaders, and advocate for changes that teachers believe will better retain and support great teachers like themselves.

Chosen from among approximately 300 teachers in the application process, the 25 Memphis Fellows include Westside Achievement Middle School teacher Anna Russo.  Throughout the highly selective application process, Anna demonstrated policy knowledge, classroom effectiveness, and commitment to urban schools. Moreover, Anna’s belief in the difference an effective teacher could make in the life of a struggling student resonated with national and local staff as well as the external selection committee.  Although research consistently shows an alarming attrition rate of early career teachers, Anna challenges the status quo as a Teach For America alum continuing to hone her skills and positively impact the lives of urban students as she remains a classroom teacher. As Executive Director of Teach Plus Memphis, I am excited about working with Anna and the 2012 cohort of Teach Plus Memphis Teaching Policy Fellows who will actively engage policy issues that will ultimately retain effective teachers like them.