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Young Teachers Learning Leadership at Tech

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Arkansas Tech University is providing an introductory course in school leadership and organization to 11 members of the Teach for America program, a national initiative that seeks to connect young leaders with disadvantaged students. Dr. Mary Gunter, dean of the Arkansas Tech Graduate College and professor of educational leadership, is leading monthly sessions at the Arkansas Tech Center for Leadership and Learning that provide 11 school teachers based in eastern Arkansas with an overview of K-12 school leadership. Topics include the role of leaders in schools and the laws and policies from the federal, state and local levels that help shape school administration. “Teach for America is a rigorous program that prepares recent college graduates for teaching,” said Gunter. “Because of the funds provided by a Walton Family Foundation grant, we have the opportunity at Arkansas Tech to augment the training of the Teach for America participants in eastern Arkansas by teaching them about the basics of school leadership. The hope is that some of these young people will find teaching and school leadership as a career, and that all of them will come away with a better understanding of K-12 education.” Teach for America recruits recent graduates from some of the most prestigious universities in the nation --- places like Harvard University, Duke University, the University of Virginia, the University of California-Berkeley and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Upon entering the Teach for America program, individuals agree to teach in a low-income community for a period of two years. Among the results achieved by the program is a 23 percent increase from 2000-2010 in the percentage of students in New Orleans, La., scoring basic or above on statewide tests. The 11 individuals attending the monthly sessions at Arkansas Tech University during the spring 2012 semester are from the Teach for America Mississippi Delta program, which has grown from 32 participants in 1996 to 520 participants in 2011.

The Teach for America participants enrolled in the leadership course at Arkansas Tech are: (photographed, back row, left-to-right) Katelyn Wilhelmi, Alison Cannon, Sarah Burks, Eliese Rulifson, Nicolle Harkness, Brian Ketner; (photographed, front row, left-to-right) Kara Smith, Kewanza Williams, Taylor Scott, Caroline Lampinen and Hannah McCollester.

For more information about Teach for America, visit http://www.teachforamerica.org/.

For more information about graduate school opportunities at Arkansas Tech in the field of K-12 school leadership, visit www.atu.edu/cll.

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