Four teachers from Hamilton County Schools are among 30 educators across the state invited to participate in the 2020-2021 class of the Tennessee Educator Fellowship, the State Collaborative for Reforming Education (SCORE) announced Friday. Megan Autry, Orchard Knob Middle; Japho Hardin, a graphic design teacher at The Howard School; Rosa Heintz, a social studies teacher at Tyner Middle Academy; and Rebekah Reed, a fifth-grade teacher at McConnell Elementary will be part of the yearlong program.
A sixth-grade math teacher at Orchard Knob Middle, Ms. Autry has a special gift for reaching students. “Megan is a consummate educator who creates teachable moments about life while using the curriculum,” said Tiffany Ervin, principal of Orchard Knob Middle School. “Her zeal to engage students, coupled with her high energy, generates fun lessons that promote high standards. Megan is an amazing teacher!”
Mr. Hardin is the instructor in the VW eLab at The Howard School. He brings out the creativity in his students to help them express themselves in design as they use projects to search for answers to today’s issues. “Due to the technical nature of the subject I teach, architectural and engineering design, I am often met with apprehension from students,” said Mr. Hardin. “Meeting this uncertainty by creating an accepting environment allows students to go out on a limb and trust the process. Such an environment encourages students to play with new ideas and accepts the vulnerability to take risks in the classroom. Thus, creativity is generated from risk-takers in a supported environment.”
A social studies teacher at Tyner Middle Academy, Ms. Heintz is not just a teacher but a continuous learner as she seeks to prepare her students for success in high school. “Rosa Heintz is a very passionate educator who takes her job seriously when it comes to educating our youth,” said Gerald Harris, executive principal of Tyner Middle and Tyner Academy. “Even though she is very good at what she does, she continues to learn more to give her best to students at Tyner Middle.
Ms. Reed is a fifth-grade teacher at McConnell Elementary. She has served as the grade level chair, robotics team coach, Science Olympiad coach, STEAM night co-chair, Academic Awards co-chair, and she provides tech support for McConnell. “I am very excited to be selected for the 2020-2021 Tennessee Educator Fellowship,” said Ms. Reed. “I am ready to get started because this unique opportunity will allow me to learn more about education policy and help me pursue advocacy that impacts students and teachers beyond my classroom and school.”
“Ms. Reed always assists in any capacity needed at McConnell from sharing her content expertise in social studies, where she is one of 12 subject matter experts for the state, to her knowledge of robotics or STEAM,” said Ruth Pohlman, principal of McConnell Elementary. “She is also a lead teacher for Hamilton County Schools and creates standards-based unit assessments, plans and facilitates professional development, and develops curriculum guides for elementary teachers throughout the district.”
The Tennessee Educator Fellowship allows teachers, school counselors, interventionists and librarians to learn about education policy. The experience helps participants advocate for positive changes that positively affect student achievement and educator effectiveness, officials said. Hamilton County Schools is one of 23 districts across the state to have educators chosen as fellows.
“The selection of these four educators is a reflection of the incredible teaching talent we have working with children each day in Hamilton County Schools,” said Dr. Bryan Johnson, superintendent of Hamilton County Schools. “Our district is committed to growing great teachers and leaders, and we believe professional development opportunities like this are key to helping our staff reach their potential. I’m thrilled these teachers will have the opportunity to work with and learn from excellent educators across the state and bring back knowledge to develop future-ready students in the classrooms in Hamilton County.”
The Tennessee Educator Fellowship was launched in 2014 and has offered more than 200 educators across the state the opportunity to participate in discussions about education policy. The participants learn through speaking at public events, engaging with policymakers, serving on state-level policy committees and writing about their experiences in state and national publications.