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ATLANTA, Ga. — Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal and Arthur Levine, president of the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation, honored Georgia’s ongoing commitment to close the achievement gap and provide all students with high-quality teachers on Thursday, June 29, recognizing the third class of Woodrow Wilson Georgia Teaching Fellows, 12 of which are coming to Columbus State University.
A total of 63 aspiring educators were picked this year, adding to the 159 teachers who have been prepared through the WW Georgia Teaching Fellowship program to lead STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) classes in the state’s high-need secondary schools. The program is hosted at Columbus State University, Georgia State University, Kennesaw State University, Mercer University, and Piedmont College during the 2017–18 academic year. The highly competitive Fellowship recruits both recent graduates and career changers with strong backgrounds in science, technology, engineering and math.
“Sandra and I are honored to welcome this third class of Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellows into the program,” Gov. Nathan Deal said during the announcement at the Capitol. “Georgia has earned many accolades over the past several years, and none of them would be possible or sustainable without our leaders in the classroom. This program creates a pipeline of dedicated math and science teachers to the schools that need them the most, and we wish the best of luck to this year’s class.”
The Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellowship focuses on preparing top-quality educators for many of Georgia’s most underserved public schools. Each Fellow receives $30,000 to complete a specially designed, cutting-edge master’s degree program based on a yearlong classroom experience. In return, Fellows commit to teach for three years in the urban and rural Georgia schools that most need strong STEM teachers. Throughout the three-year commitment, Fellows receive ongoing support and mentoring.
“As Georgia re-emphasizes its commitment to turning around the state’s low-performing schools, it is essential that every Georgia child has access to excellent educators, particularly in subjects like science and math,” Levine said. “With the WW Georgia Teaching Fellowship program, Georgia colleges are ensuring Georgia classrooms have a pipeline of needed teachers both committed to teaching in high-need schools and with the skills and abilities to boost student learning. Teachers like our Georgia Teaching Fellows are key to future success.”
Through the Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellowship program, the Woodrow Wilson Foundation will contribute to the University System of Georgia’s initiative to produce 20,000 new teachers by 2020. Woodrow Wilson is administering the program, with in-state coordination by the Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education (GPEE) and support from the Robert W. Woodruff Foundation. Current project funding is $13.7 million.
The university partners, selected in a statewide review by the Woodrow Wilson Foundation, have spent years tailoring their teacher preparation programs to meet the Fellowship’s standards for intensive clinical work and rigorous related coursework. All five participating universities received $400,000 matching grants to develop their teacher preparation programs based on standards set by the Woodrow Wilson Foundation. For each of the program’s past three years, the participating Georgia colleges and universities have each enrolled approximately 12 Fellows annually, totaling 180 Fellows over the three-year period.
“This program has helped us become nationally recognized for our STEM teacher preparation efforts,” said Chris Markwood, president of Columbus State University. “I’m excited to welcome our 12 future teachers to Columbus State University, and I am confident they will add to our legacy of training top-notch teachers and meeting our community’s needs.”
Columbus State University’s 2017-2018 class of Georgia Teaching Fellows includes:
— Tonie Curry
— Carlos Del Orbe
— Justin Fairchild
— Craig Henning
— Jayla Johnson
— Molly Lichtner
— Samuelle Mangibin
— Bethany Manning
— Antonio Rainey
— Jose Ruiz
— Bridget Smith
— Michael Steinagel
“One of the most important elements to increasing student achievement is the effectiveness of the teacher,” GPEE President Steve Dolinger said. “The Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellowship has an exceptional record of helping improve teacher training, especially for STEM teachers, which ultimately benefits students. We continue to be proud to help coordinate these efforts.”
The Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellowship is also offered in Indiana, Michigan, New Jersey, and Ohio. The Georgia program brings the Woodrow Wilson Foundation’s total commitment to the Fellowship to more than $90 million nationally. More information on the national program can be found at woodrow.org/fellowships/ww-teaching-fellowships.
About the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation
Founded in 1945, the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation (www.woodrow.org) identifies and develops the nation’s best minds to meet its most critical challenges. The Foundation supports its Fellows as the next generation of leaders shaping American society.