From The Road: Partnerships Team Update September 8, 2017
NAATE’s Partnerships team has quickly grown with the addition of Rosemary Baker in the Bay Area and Dayo Akinjisola and Alfonso Gillette in the Providence office. The newest members have spent time preparing to join the rest of the partnerships team on the road, learning as much as they can about NAATE’s partners. “Starting with the Bay Area, I'm researching the different charter, public, and private school organizations as well as education-focused charitable foundations to get a broader picture of the ed sector here but also zero in on the organizations that already work with us as well as the ones that might be primed for engagement. I've been able to sit in with Jason and Tony on meetings with Bay Area focused partners - Silicon Schools Fund, Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, and NewSchools Venture Fund to name a few,” says Rosemary, Director of Partnerships. Dayo and Alfonso, VFA fellows who are spending their two-year fellowship with NAATE as School Partnerships Associates have also been doing their research. Reflecting on their first two weeks, the pair stated, “We feel like the amount of reading we’ve done in the past couple of weeks has been equivalent to the first three months of a master's program. We aren't complaining though… the readings we’ve gone through have given us great insight as to why NAATE exists and the importance of NAATE as a thought leader within the K-12 sector. Alfonso and I are extremely excited to maintain and cultivate new relationships within our respective regions (Alfonso: South/Midwest, Dayo: Eastern Region).”
The team has also continued to hit the ground running by visiting current and prospective school partners across the country. “More and more districts and charter networks are learning about NAATE and are interested in how they can give their strongest teachers the opportunity to be part of this experience,” says Juan Fernandez, Senior Director of School Partnerships.
Many of these new districts were represented in Cohort XI in July, NAATE’s biggest cohort yet! As the bridge between the Partnerships and Program teams in her role as Manager of Program & Partnerships, Meredith McAndrew commented on Cohort XI, “This was an especially exciting role to have in the build-up to our summer sessions, as the rest of the Partnerships Team worked tirelessly to bring together a staggering 96 teachers from 60 schools around the country for Cohort XI. Meeting all of those teachers in person this July was hugely rewarding, and I can't wait to see them continue to grow with NAATE over the next year.” “The energy and camaraderie among the cohort was incredibly powerful and inspiring for those of us on the NAATE staff. It was encouraging for me to see teachers from new partner schools, including from Cincinnati (OH), New York (NY), New Bedford (MA), Milwaukee (WI),” continued Juan.
Cohort XI isn’t the only cohort to have seen a great blending of energy this summer. Having had sessions for Cohorts VIII through XI, the Partnerships team was able to see many of their partners represented. “It was an honor to see so many amazing Teacher Leaders from Kansas City, Denver, San Antonio, and the Rio Grande Valley join us at program over the summer. I have the pleasure of working closely with these regions and am continually impressed with the talent that each participant brings to this work and the insightful comments that each shared during the many case discussions in New Haven,” says Shana Dinner de Vaca, Director of School Partnerships. Managing Director of School Partnerships, Jason Griffiths, is excited that representation will continue in the fall with Cohort XII, “We are excited to welcome 5 teachers from Alpha Public Schools to Cohort XII of the Teacher Leader Program to join 4 of their peers in Cohort X. Alpha is in its third year of its own teacher residency program, and the organization has been sending teachers to NAATE who are serving as mentors for the teacher residents. At NAATE, the mentors learn a wide range of skills which help them improve their practice and serve them well in their mentor roles such as listening, observing, and giving feedback. The relationship
between NAATE and Alpha has grown over the past three years, and we at NAATE are excited to be serving Alpha in this specific and crucial piece of their talent pipeline.”
In addition to cultivating talented teachers to send to NAATE programming, the Partnerships team also had the opportunity to take NAATE’s programming to the teachers. “I also had the privilege of working with over 60 educators at IDEA's Advanced Teacher Retreat on South Padre Island in June. Together with Jason Griffiths, we worked with the district's top teachers and explored the concepts of Quiet Leadership as well as Managing Up. It was a truly incredible experience and one in which NAATE was honored to participate,” shares Shana.
NAATE’s Partnerships team is continuing to look forward, spending time in schools and districts across the nation to share NAATE’s mission and passion to continue to build cohorts of exceptional teachers and school leaders.