Contact: Crystal Brown
LANSING, Mich. – A former dolphin trainer. A neuroscience specialist. Several with international teaching experiences. An All-American water polo player who plans to swim the English Channel.
These individuals from diverse backgrounds were among the first 92 recipients of the highly competitive W.K. Kellogg-Woodrow Wilson Michigan Teaching Fellowship announced today. Recruiting both recent college graduates and those seeking a different career, the three-year fellowship is awarded to promising educators with strong backgrounds in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Fellows receive $30,000 to pursue a customized master’s degree program that prepares them to teach in high-need urban or rural secondary schools in seven local districts across the state.
By preparing and placing top-quality math and science educators in many of Michigan’s most underserved public schools, the fellowship program will help provide nearly 20,000 students in its first year—and ultimately, nearly 101,000 students—with the high-quality level of instruction they need to contribute to Michigan’s renewal and rapidly changing economy and workforce.
The Battle Creek-based W.K. Kellogg Foundation launched the statewide program in 2009 with $18 million in support, reflecting its dedication to innovative education practices and recognition that improving teacher quality is the key to raising the level of learning for all students. Sterling Speirn, president and CEO of the Kellogg Foundation, joined Gov. Rick Snyder and the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation in announcing the inaugural class of fellows, who were selected from a highly competitive pool of 1,500 applicants hailing from a variety of experiences and former careers in math and science-related fields.
“It is critically important to create conditions that prepare children for long-term success and independence, and in this case that means surrounding them with top-notch math and science instructors,” said Speirn. “Bringing high-quality teachers to our home state’s most vulnerable children and school districts honors the Foundation’s commitment to Michigan communities and to systemic education transformation statewide.”
The inaugural fellows will attend Eastern Michigan University, Wayne State University, Grand Valley State University, University of Michigan, Michigan State University and Western Michigan University. Upon graduating, these fellows will not only be equipped to help the students they teach, but will represent a cadre of high-quality instructors whose knowledge and practices will positively impact their colleagues and make a real difference in the lives of students across the state. They will teach in seven partner school districts: Battle Creek, Benton Harbor, Detroit, Godfrey-Lee, Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, and Muskegon.
“These Fellows are amazing–engineers and zookeepers and medical researchers and astrophysicists, some in midcareer, others just graduating at the top of their classes. They all bring real science and math expertise to the kids who most need strong teachers,” said Arthur Levine, president of the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation. “They learn to teach in real classrooms from the very beginning, just as doctors learn in hospitals. They’re prepared to succeed in teaching as a long-term career. They’re going to change the face of teaching, and they’re going to change tens of thousands of lives.”
“We need great teachers and great teaching to support our development of the highest quality education in Michigan,” Gov. Rick Snyder said. “The teachers in this fellowship program will bring their much-needed expertise in key disciplines to some of our schools in which the need is greatest. We want our students to have every opportunity for success in this global economy. Greater exposure to these key subjects will provide that foundation.”
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About the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation
Founded in 1945, the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation (www.woodrow.org) identifies and develops leaders and institutions to address critical national challenges, working through education. The Foundation supports its Fellows as the next generation of leaders shaping American institutions. It also supports innovation in the institutions they will lead.