Grant for area teachers

Nov. 29, 2012 @ 08:15 PM

Teach for America in eastern North Carolina recently received increased funding with a $100,000 grant from the Golden Leaf Foundation. The money is expected to support recruitment for a greater number of Teach for America teachers in Vance, Warren, and Granville counties.

“It’s used for recruitment selection, training, and support of teachers in the rural counties of which we work,” said Robyn Fehrman, executive director of Teach for America eastern North Carolina.

Currently Vance County has 16 TFA core members, nine of which work in the public school system, and seven that teach at the public charter school, Henderson Collegiate.

“They’re extremely passionate about closing the achievement gap,” said Eric Sanchez, co-founder of Henderson Collegiate. “When we’re searching for teachers, one of the biggest reasons why we’re happy to employ them is because they’re relentless people.

“They work hard, and have a level of humility and openness that makes them very easy to work with.”

Vance County stopped using TFA teachers during the two school years between 2010 and 2012. The school system received nine first-year TFA teachers after implementing them back into the system for the 2012-2013 school year.

“They went through some transitions at the district level, and made a decision that partnership wasn’t right at that time,” Fehrman said. “But we’re really excited for them to be back.”

With funds from a $100,000 grant going toward the recruitment process of teachers in rural eastern North Carolina, counties like Vance could expect an increased number of TFA teachers for the fall of 2013.

“We’re early in the process,” Fehrman said. “We work on an annual basis to determine what our partner districts needs are, and talk with them around how we can help achieve their goals by bringing in really talented teachers.”

Jackson Olsen, assistant principal-intern at Zeb Vance Elementary School, was a TFA core member in 2009 when he was placed at Henderson Middle.

“I taught at Henderson Middle for three years,” Olsen said. “You’re required to stay in your placement school for two years, but there is a large percentage of Teach For America teachers in Vance County who have stayed beyond their two-year commitment.

“For me I didn’t always want to be a teacher, but I always knew I wanted to help people.”

Golden Leaf Foundation has been supporting Teach For America teachers for the past six years, placing teachers in areas where they are most desperately needed.

“We’ve been supporting them for about six years,” said Mark Sorrells, senior vice president at Golden Leaf Foundation. “They produce highly effective teachers, and we are very interested in making sure all kids have highly effective teachers each year, in every class.”

Contact the writer at amauser@hendersondispatch.com.

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