RELEASE: TeachStrong Campaign Launches New Ambassador Program, Convenes Educators From Around the Country to Advise on Teacher Pipeline Policies

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. — This weekend, the TeachStrong campaign—a coalition of 57 leading education groups aimed at making modernizing and elevating the teaching profession the top education policy priority of 2016—unveiled its newest phase: the TeachStrong Ambassador Program. The initial group of ambassadors consists of more than 90 educators from 27 states and Washington, D.C. More than 70 of the ambassadors convened over the weekend in Washington to network and engage with other educators from around the country, receive a series of trainings on how to elevate their own experiences and stories, and discuss policies addressing each aspect of the teacher career continuum.

As ambassadors, these exceptional educators will advise the TeachStrong coalition on teacher pipeline policies and serve as activists and spokespeople for TeachStrong in their local communities. The program includes first-year teachers to 30-year veterans of the profession, as well as principals, deans, 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.

“With the launch of the TeachStrong Ambassador Program, educators from across the country will provide valuable input into how we can create the types of systemic changes necessary to improve their profession,” said Catherine Brown, Vice President of Education Policy at the Center for American Progress. “These teachers came together because they believe that we need to modernize and elevate the teaching profession, and they are ready to be advocates for those changes.”

“I’m convinced that professionalizing, mobilizing, and revitalizing the current and future teaching force is the key to creating a high-functioning, national educational system. I want to do whatever I can, any way I can, to contribute to that endeavor,” said TeachStrong Ambassador Maureen Torrez, a National Board-certified teacher and instructional coach at La Mesa Elementary School in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

“Teachers saw through bruises and torn clothing and instead saw the potential in me from a young age to overcome my background and circumstances,” said TeachStrong Ambassador Heidi Welch, 2013 New Hampshire Teacher of the Year and a music educator from Hillsboro-Deering High School in Hillsboro, New Hampshire. “They pushed me to have dreams and then armed me with the skills and knowledge to get into college and succeed. My motivation continues to be finding that potential in my students, encouraging them to dream and aspire, and to teach and hone the skills to send them off to make their dreams happen after they graduate. I was inspired to become a TeachStrong Ambassador to continue to advocate and use my voice to better our profession and inspire teachers to be the people that our students need.”

About the TeachStrong Ambassador Program

The TeachStrong initiative was launched based on a shared understanding among its partners that the expectations on students, teachers, and schools have never been higher, but the systems to prepare, support, and compensate teachers have not been elevated commensurately. Our 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 elevate and modernize 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 come together to enrich this important effort with their experiences and expertise. Ultimately, ambassadors will have 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.

About TeachStrong

Launched in November 2015, the TeachStrong campaign has quickly grown from 40 organizations to 57. These groups have coalesced around nine key principles that aim to make modernizing and elevating the teaching profession the top education priority of 2016 and beyond. More information about the campaign can be found at teachstrong.org.

For more information or to speak with an expert, contact .

This release is sent by the Center for American Progress, a coalition partner to TeachStrong. The Center for American Progress is a nonpartisan research and educational institute dedicated to promoting a strong, just, and free America that ensures opportunity for all. We believe that Americans are bound together by a common commitment to these values, and we aspire to ensure that our national policies reflect these values. We work to find progressive and pragmatic solutions to significant domestic and international problems and develop policy proposals that foster a government that is “of the people, by the people, and for the people.”