male teacher and students

Teachers Make the Future. Let’s Help Them Thrive.


Written by V. Châu

Teachers Make the Future. Let’s Help Them Thrive.

Recognizing Teacher Appreciation Week

Students don’t just deserve excellent educators—they depend on them. Teachers are the most consequential factor in a student’s school journey, and their job has never been more complex.

As artificial intelligence, global workforce shifts, and new societal challenges reshape our world, it’s critical that we collectively recognize the important role teachers play in building the future. That means ensuring they have the professional conditions, continuous learning, and coherent support systems necessary to reach their full potential. 

Honor Teachers with Action

Since 2011, we’ve worked to foster school systems that cultivate “leading educators” in every classroom, where teachers work and learn collaboratively toward a dynamic vision of what teaching can be.

On a national level, that charge pushed us to look beyond local systems and co-found the Coalition to Reimagine the Teaching Role. Together with dozens of innovative support organizations and policy powerhouses, we are working to champion a sustainable, dynamic, collaborative, diverse, and rewarding profession.

Despite the systematic challenges facing today’s education profession, our nation’s educators continue to show tremendous heart, creativity, and resilience. So, this #TeacherAppreciationWeek, we want to say thank you to a few educators who have proven what’s possible.  

Sydney Jenkins, Instructional Leadership Coach-ELA, NYC partnership

Headshot circle cut-out of Sydney Jenkins, Instructional Leadership Coach-ELA, NYC partnership
Sydney Jenkins

Working with Ms. Clark has encouraged me to think more about how I can support teachers with infusing more joy and engagement in their classrooms. Not only is her work engaging and fun, but it is rigorous and data-informed.

Perhaps most importantly, her students feel incredibly safe and seen in her classroom, which is especially important considering the number of newcomers she teaches. Thank you so much, Miss Clark, for being you.”

As part of the groundbreaking NYC Reads effort, The Harlem Community School District 5 is partnering with Leading Educators to ensure an effective rollout of HMH’s Into Reading curriculum in grades K-5.

Leading Educators is designing ongoing professional learning for teachers and providing side-by-side coaching support to bolster teachers’ confidence, content knowledge, and instructional practice. So far, teachers have been excited about the tailored support, and the percentage of students at grade level on the i-Ready assessment has nearly doubled since the beginning of the year. Learn more about the partnership.

Rebecca Allen, Instructional Leadership Coach-Math, Special Projects

Headshot circle cut-out of Rebecca Allen, Instructional Leadership Coach-Math, Special Projects
Rebecca Allen

I would like to thank Ms. Ford, a first-grade teacher in DC Public Schools at Lasalle Backus Elementary School. One thing that impressed me about Ms. Ford’s classroom is the focus on having students be able to express their mathematical thinking in multiple ways, even as first graders.

So often, we think about first grade as where the literacy foundation is set, but it’s also the time to build critical thinkers in math. The limits we set on little children’s thinking are often limits that we place. Every time I went into her classroom, students were doing the heavy lifting, they were able to receive feedback, they were able to analyze each other’s work critically, and students were able to do that in a way where they were building their understanding of math concepts in a very explicit and real way.”

Since 2013, DC Public Schools (DCPS) has partnered with Leading Educators on a series of nationally recognized teacher leadership and instructional improvement efforts, notably the first-of-its-kind LEAP initiative, which scaled curriculum-based professional learning to 115 schools and achieved historic student growth for four years in a row. Most recently, we collaborated with district leaders to define instructional leadership pathways and support school leaders to implement robust math coaching. 

Nick Cains, Director of Adult Learning, Network Support 

Headshot circle cut-out of Nick Cains, Director of Adult Learning, Network Support
Nick Cains

I want to celebrate Jennifer J. Butler at McClure Elementary School, whom I coached while working with Tulsa Public Schools.

One thing that I have seen Jennifer overcome in her own teaching is how to make sense of a new curriculum when it comes to foundational skills. It made me think, as a coach, about how to continue to offer autonomy and choice and think about the big content-specific things that teachers need support with and are working on. I admire teachers who are open to more feedback, vulnerable with their practices, and willing to grow and try new things.”

From 2017 to 2023, Tulsa Public Schools partnered with Leading Educators to build a robust professional learning system to support ongoing, system-wide improvements in ELA, math, and ECE instruction. The multi-year partnership resulted in new instructional leadership roles, ongoing curriculum-based professional learning habits, and a coherent improvement strategy.

At the conclusion of the partnership, we identified significant increases in students’ sense of belonging, teacher-student relationships, self-efficacy, and novice teacher retention. Learn more about the partnership.

Patricia Thibodeaux, Instructional Leadership Coach-Math, Cincinnati Public Schools partnership

Headshot circle cut-out of Patricia Thibodeaux, Instructional Leadership Coach-Math, Cincinnati Public Schools partnership
Patricia Thibodeaux

I want to celebrate Jill Callahan of Western Hills High School in Cincinnati Public Schools. Her commitment to her classroom and students has inspired me as a coach. Her [desire]to [use] new learning and be open to feedback and observation [shows] that our teachers want to do better for their students. They want to see those students improve their outcomes, and they want to be part of a collaborative team working toward the same goal.”

Cincinnati Public Schools is partnering with Leading Educators to improve students’ access to challenging and affirming instruction through ongoing, system-wide professional development on math and ELA content standards and practices for more than 2,155 CPS educators.

By midyear, 100 percent of teachers who also opted in to bridge-to-practice coaching agreed or strongly agreed that their coach helps them identify clear, measurable, and student-focused needs for coaching and support relevant to their instructional practice needs. Learn more about the partnership.

Andrea “Fitz” Fitzgerald, Instructional Leadership Coach-Math, Charleston County Schools District partnership

Headshot circle cut-out of Andrea "Fitz" Fitzgerald, Instructional Leadership Coach-Math, Charleston County Schools District partnership
Andrea Fitzgerald (Fitz)

I want to celebrate and shout out Ms. Williams from Mitchell Elementary School with the Charleston County School District. [I have seen] her confidence grow around instruction and in her leadership role. She has leaned into the challenge of embracing growth and taking risks to do what’s in the best interest of students.

Ms. Williams, you have inspired me to do more of that in my professional and personal life.”

Over four years, Leading Educators has partnered with Charleston County School District’s Acceleration Schools to bolster teacher knowledge and skill in math and English language arts through a coherent instructional improvement approach, and it’s paying off. Since the pandemic, literacy in turnaround schools has doubled, and math increases have outpaced the district at large. Learn more about the partnership

Araceli Flores, Director of Content, Baltimore Math partnership

Headshot circle cut-out of Araceli Flores, Director of Content, Baltimore Math partnership
Araceli Flores

I want to celebrate Missy Boston-Jackson, who I coach through Leading Educators’ middle school math partnership with Baltimore City Public Schools as the math instructional coach at Maree Garnett Farring Elementary/Middle School. 

This year, she supported several middle school teachers in implementing academic language strategies to engage more students in sharing their mathematical thinking. Missy models these strategies for her teachers using things like meta moments where teachers can break down her instructional moves and have the time and space for planning and practice. Missy goes above and beyond because she brings [new learning] and instructional strategies to teachers across the building. We appreciate you.”

Baltimore City Public Schools is partnering with Leading Educators to sustain a coherent math instructional system that builds teacher efficacy and strengthens students’ access to challenging learning.

City Schools and Leading Educators are partnering on a multi-year math capacity-building strategy in grades 6 to 8 to help teachers accelerate learning in middle schools. Learn more about the partnership.

Take Action

Wondering what you can do to ensure more teachers have the support to reach new professional heights? Explore our resources on teacher leadership, proven professional development, coaching, and strengthening school culture.

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