New class of Woodrow Wilson Indiana Teaching Fellows announced for 2010
May 7, 2010
Second round of program attracts top science, math candidates to innovative teacher preparation and careers in high-need Indiana schools
The 80 fellows will enter innovative teacher preparation programs at four selected Indiana universities - Ball State University, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, Purdue University and the University of Indianapolis - and then teach in the state's high-need urban and rural schools.
The announcement of fellows comes at the conclusion of a rigorous yearlong application and selection process. The new fellows, who begin their master's work this summer, will be ready to enter their own classrooms in fall 2011.
Each fellow receives a $30,000 stipend to complete a special intensive master's program at one of the four partner universities. Fellows then make a commitment to teach for at least three years in a high-need urban or rural school in the state of Indiana that has committed, along with the partner university, to provide ongoing professional support and opportunities for continued study.
"We are proud that this program continues to attract outstanding new teacher candidates to work with Indiana's students," said Arthur Levine, president of the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation. "Last year's fellows are already demonstrating extraordinary skill in the classroom. These new teachers will change thousands of lives - and the Indiana schools that are working with them are changing the face of teacher preparation."
Among this year's fellows, 96 percent majored in a STEM discipline. Roughly one-third had an undergraduate GPA of 3.5 or better, and nearly a quarter (24 percent) have advanced degrees. Nearly half (45 percent) are changing careers after having been out of college for five years or more; another 36 percent are recent graduates who have rethought their career paths and turned to teaching. Approximately 16 percent are minorities, and roughly one in six (16 percent) come from out of state.
"Indiana's students are not learning nearly enough math and science to succeed in this world," said Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels. "They need to be taught by people with true mastery of the subject matter, and in the Woodrow Wilson Fellows our kids will have America's most knowledgeable math and science teachers sped to the classrooms that need them most."
The Woodrow Wilson Foundation selected Indiana in December 2007 as the first site for its new national fellowship for high school teachers. The program is intended to help overhaul teacher education and encourage exceptionally able teacher candidates to seek long-term careers teaching science, technology, and math (the STEM fields) in high-need classrooms.
The first cohort of fellows was announced by the foundation in partnership with the office of Gov. Daniels last year. The 2009 fellows are now completing their university programs and are ready to become teachers of record. The Indianapolis-based Lilly Endowment provided a grant of more than $10.1 million to support the program. The state has also provided funds $3 million to extend the program.
"Lilly Endowment is pleased that the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation selected Indiana as the first site of this promising new approach to encourage talented individuals to become teachers," said Sara B. Cobb, Lilly Endowment vice president for education. "Early indications are that this program is producing teachers who are enthusiastic and creative - and who have expertise in their STEM disciplines.
Indiana students in high-need urban and rural schools will be the beneficiaries of this knowledge."
The fellows selected include current and recent college graduates, career changers, stay-at-home parents returning to the work force, and retirees. The program received some 7,000 inquiries and ultimately attracted 505 applicants from around Indiana, as well as former Hoosiers and residents of neighboring states.
All finalists were screened by a group of Indiana-based selectors, who observed sample teaching and conducted personal interviews with the candidates, as well as reviewing applications and writing samples.
The selectors who led this rigorous process were Carol Chen, former head of the Hoosier Association of Science Teachers, Inc. and a 28-year veteran of high school chemistry and physical science teaching; Don Meissner, a 33-year veteran of teaching biology who has mentored teacher candidates and conducted education research; and Beth Marchant, a career-changing engineer who taught high school physics and now staffs QuarkNet, an online physics resource for teachers and students nationwide.
"These are truly stellar teacher candidates who will make a real difference in students' lives," said Constance K. Bond, vice president for teaching fellowships at the Woodrow Wilson Foundation and former coordinator of education policy at Teachers College, Columbia University. "I am enormously impressed with the quality of Indiana's candidates for this fellowship and with their genuine enthusiasm for bringing science and math to life in Indiana classrooms."
The Indiana Fellowship is part of a national Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellowship initiative. With Indiana leading the way, the program will expand into other states in the coming years, ideally reaching all 50 states. The Teaching Fellowship has the following four goals:
Transform teacher education - not just for fellows but also for the universities that prepare them, other teacher candidates in the same programs and the high-need schools where they are placed as teachers;
Get strong teachers into high-need schools. Indiana has chosen to focus on attracting math and science teachers, though other states may choose different subject areas;
Attract the very best candidates to teaching through a fellowship with a well-known name and high visibility, similar to a National Merit Scholarship;
Cut teacher attrition and retain top teachers through intensive clinical preparation and ongoing in-school mentoring, provided by veteran teachers and supported by able principals.
The next round of applications for the fellowship opens in summer 2010.
The students who will begin at Purdue next month are:
Michael Arvola, Kelly Babb, Aaron Baker, Crystal Collier, Nelson Pelton and Jenafer Wolf, all of Lafayette; Candice Kissinger, West Lafayette; Jessica Austin, Russiaville, Ind.; Andrew Bever, Bloomington, Ind.; Dane Brown, Valparaiso; Michael Mieher, Ossian, Ind.; Edwin Ramos, Evansville; Cortnaye Smith, Stilesville, Ind.; Robin Truesdell Townsend, Kokomo; Moira McSpadden, Garland, Texas; Daniel Sacre, Catlin, Ill.
Lilly Endowment Inc. (www.lillyendowment.org) is an Indianapolis-based, private philanthropic foundation created in 1937 by three members of the Lilly family - J.K. Lilly Sr. and sons J.K. Jr. and Eli - through gifts of stock in their pharmaceutical business, Eli Lilly and Company. The Lilly family's foremost priority was to help the people of their city and state build a better life. Although the Endowment also supports efforts of national significance and an occasional international project, it remains primarily committed to its hometown, Indianapolis, and home state, Indiana.
Note to Journalists: This news release is being distributed by Purdue University on behalf of the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation.