Center for American Progress

RELEASE: In Latest Edition of Story Project, New Mexico, Colorado, and Nevada Educators Explain Why They Joined TeachStrong
Press Release

RELEASE: In Latest Edition of Story Project, New Mexico, Colorado, and Nevada Educators Explain Why They Joined TeachStrong

The TeachStrong campaign brings together teachers unions; teacher voice organizations; and education reform, civil rights, and education policy leaders to make modernizing and elevating the teaching profession the top education policy issue of 2016.

Washington, D.C. — In the fourth installment of the TeachStrong Story Project, educators from New Mexico, Colorado, and Nevada explain why they came together with other educators to join TeachStrong as ambassadors. The TeachStrong campaign is a coalition of 60 leading education groups aimed at making modernizing and elevating the teaching profession the top education policy priority of 2016.

The fourth installment of the TeachStrong Story project features Maureen Torrez, an instructional coach at La Mesa Elementary School in Albuquerque, New Mexico; Kyle Schwartz, a 3rd-grade teacher from Denver; and Tonia Holmes-Sutton, a Peer Assistance and Review, or PAR, Consulting Teacher in the Clark County School District in Las Vegas. In the latest video series, these ambassadors explain how the principles and vision of TeachStrong inspired them to join this coalition of unlikely partners.

The Story Project is a collection of short videos, longer compilations, and sharable content featuring the TeachStrong ambassadors, a group of nearly 100 educators from 27 states and Washington, D.C. As ambassadors, these exceptional educators advise the TeachStrong coalition on teacher pipeline policies and serve as activists and spokespeople for TeachStrong in their local communities. The program ranges from first-year teachers to 30-year veterans of the profession, as well as principals, deans, school librarians, union chapter leaders, innovators, school founders, and curriculum and instruction experts. Ambassadors were nominated by TeachStrong partner organizations and were selected to participate in the program based on their demonstrated commitment to the campaign’s principles and goals.

In the fourth set of videos, ambassador Maureen Torrez describes her initial impression of the TeachStrong coalition and how the nine principles drew her to the program. “When you look at the list of organizations … some of them are contrasting,” says Torrez, “but I like the principles and I think that those are the key elements that really need to be addressed.”

Ambassador Tonia Holmes-Sutton explains how being part of the Ambassador Program offers opportunities for collaboration with other educators and organizations. She says, “I’m more committed to reaching out and utilizing those relationships, collaborating with unlikely partners in order to elevate and promote the profession.”

“I’m really excited about the TeachStrong Ambassador Program because it’s really a way for educators from across the country and organizations from across the country to really come together and find some common ground in the area of teaching and elevating the teaching profession,” says ambassador Kyle Schwartz. “Because at the end of the day, we know the most important thing in a child’s education are the actual teachers that they’re going to encounter.”

About the TeachStrong Ambassador Program

The TeachStrong initiative was launched based on a shared understanding among its partners that expectations for students, teachers, and schools have never been higher, but the systems to prepare, support, and compensate teachers have not been elevated commensurately. The coalition aims to elevate the prominence of this issue among thought leaders, the public, and especially parents and teachers to offer concrete policy solutions about how to modernize and elevate the teaching profession. This effort will not be successful without educators. They know firsthand the challenges that they face every day in their classrooms, and they have unique insight into the likely efficacy of potential solutions.

The TeachStrong Ambassador Program is an opportunity for educators from across the United States to enrich this important effort with their experiences and expertise. Ultimately, ambassadors will play a critical role in shaping TeachStrong’s policy positions, engaging others in this effort through traditional and social media, and calling on political leaders to take up this agenda.

More information about the TeachStrong campaign can be found at

For more information or to speak with an expert, contact