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Teaching Ambassador Fellows work to make a difference in education

WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 07, 2013 10:10 AM

Every day, teachers across the country face an array of challenges in the schools they work at, from overcoming budget issues to finding the best ways to implement the Common Core State Standards. Sometimes, instructors may feel like they are alone in their struggle to provide the best education they can, but they are not.

The U.S. Department of Education is dedicated to helping the nation's instructors thrive. To find out what these professionals need and how it can help, the Department runs its Teaching Ambassador Fellows program. In a recent press release, the Department announced that eight educators have been chosen to be Fellows.

Becoming change agents
The instructors who were chosen to be Teaching Ambassador Fellows have an opportunity to make a difference in the lives of their students, as well as the education sector as a whole. These professionals have direct access to Department officials, which means the men and women shaping the future of education in America can find out about issues they may not have been aware of.

"Improving education is about schools and classrooms, so it's vital that the clear and strong voices of teachers and principals guide our work," said Arne Duncan, the U.S. secretary of education, in a statement. "The Teaching Ambassador Fellows play a critical role in ensuring that we hear directly from classroom teachers across the country and helping us to understand their needs and hopes for students."

This year's ambassadors
Selecting Teaching Ambassador Fellows for the 2013-2014 academic year was not easy, as more than 1,200 educators applied. In the end eight individuals were chosen - three of which will head to Washington, D.C., where they will become full-time employees at the Department of Education headquarters. The remaining five educators will continue teaching at their schools and participate in the program on a part-time basis.

A diverse group of teachers was selected to be fellows. They teach subjects like social studies, life science and Spanish, and hold positions like literacy coach and special education coordinator. The one thing they share is they have earned Duncan's respect.

"We have a set of amazing teachers each year who spend a year with the Department and help drive our policy discussion … I have come to rely on the Teaching Ambassador Fellows for their invaluable feedback and their ability to facilitate dialogue with teachers across the country," said Duncan, as quoted by the Department's website.