‘Better quality of teachers’

Tri-County attracts Teach for America participants
Aug. 11, 2014 @ 05:04 PM

A swarm of new teachers are coming to the Tri-County this fall — and some from non-traditional places.

Teach for America, an organization of educators trained and placed in low-income schools, has assigned 20 new teachers to the Warren County school district.

They accompany 11 corps members already in place.

Communications director Becky O’Neill said the organization has been working with Warren County for more than 20 years.

“We’re committed to contributing to the effort to ensure that principals in these high-need schools get the teachers they need to staff their classrooms,” she said.

Teach for America is a college-graduate recruitment program that assists those becoming educators, giving them money to teach in high-needs fields in low-income areas.

Warren Early College High School principal Ryan Hurley said the Teach For America application process selects teachers who can make a difference.

Hurley said he taught in Warren County Schools for about five years under the national organization before moving into school administration.

“The competitive nature of just getting into the program means a better quality of teachers in our schools,” he said.

Hurley said now that he is in charge of hiring people, he aims to attract the same type of educators — whether a part of Teach For America or not.

“I think for us in Warren County and rural counties, it’s important that we have people that are choosing to be here,” he said. “They could go anywhere else in America, and they are teaching in our schools. They are not just an another applicant that needs a job.”

The early college started classes Aug. 7 with two new corps members, who accompany three others starting their second year.

Teach for America has added six new educators in Vance County — bringing its total to 12 — and eight new teachers in Granville County for a total of 17, as well.

Teachers entering the program are given placement options based on a district’s needs. They can chose where they want to go if spots are available in that area.

Desmera Gatewood, who had been in the program for about two years in Durham and Orange counties, has been reassigned to Granville’s C.G. Credle Elementary School.

“So far, I have had a great experience with teaching and being in the classroom,” she said. “It’s one of the most enlightening experiences I’ve had.”

Gatewood said she wanted to get back involved in Granville partially because she grew up there.

She said she is better equipped to educate students because of her participation in the program and in civil leadership projects in the Tri-County.

“It’s a region where I am personally and professionally connected,” she said. “I want to focus on literacy and reading and make sure students are culturally responsive. I want to make sure the curriculum is appealing to the needs of Granville County.”


Contact the writer at dhairston@hendersondispatch.com.