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Kingsport, Unicoi teachers named to Tennessee Educator Fellowships

Rick Wagner • Aug 22, 2014 at 12:34 AM

A teacher from Kingsport and one from Unicoi County have been named to the inaugural Tennessee Educator Fellowship.

The State Collaborative on Reforming Education (SCORE) Tuesday announced 22 teachers selected for the program, to provide them an opportunity to learn and communicate about student-focused education policy issues.

Valerie Love, a grades 9-12 math teacher at Dobyns-Bennett High School in Kingsport City Schools, and Lori Ann Wright, a 9-12 theater arts teacher at Unicoi County High School in Unicoi County Schools, are the two Northeast Tennesseans in the program.

"SCORE has always emphasized the importance of including diverse voices in discussions of how best to ensure Tennessee students are fully prepared for success after high school," SCORE President and Chief Executive Officer Jamie Woodson said in a news release. "The first class of Tennessee Educator Fellows includes incredibly talented teachers with a combined 188 years of experience in the classroom. We are honored to have the chance to work with them."

Love, interviewed by email Wednesday, is in her 21st year as math teacher, sixth year in Kingsport City Schools and third year at D-B.

"I applied for Tennessee Educator Fellowship because I want to learn more about policies that impact my students and teachers like myself; as well as, to help others understand these issues better," Love said. "The initial application process was in writing where I shared my experiences in education and thoughts on student learning. Secondly, I was asked to attend an in-person interview in Knoxville.

She said the scope of her role includes, but isn't limited to, "providing a clear, consistent student-focused voice as Tennessee works to ensure all students graduate prepared for their future, inform policymakers about issues impacting students and teachers, and work within the region to inform stakeholders about such issues."

She said possible avenues for the goal include networking, speaking to groups, training teachers, writing opinion pieces, and providing feedback to SCORE.

Love has served as a classroom teacher, academic coach, and state Common Core coach for KCS. She has a bachelor's degree in mathematics and master's degree in curriculum and instruction from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and an educational specialist's degree in leadership from Lincoln Memorial University.

The Tennessee Educator Fellows were selected from more than 350 applicants. The class includes teachers of nine different subjects who work in urban, suburban, and rural schools and traditional and charter schools in East, Middle, and West Tennessee.

Four of the Tennessee Educator Fellows teach elementary school students, 10 teach middle school students, and nine teach high school students. The teachers are affiliated with many different professional groups, including the Tennessee Education Association, Professional Educators of Tennessee, Teach Plus and Teach for America.

The teachers in the Tennessee Educator Fellowship will continue to work in their classrooms while in the one-year program, which will provide the opportunity to learn about, reflect upon, inform and communicate about policies, practices and systems that impact educator effectiveness and student achievement.

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