As a result of my successes I have been offered countless "opportunities to grow" in this field. ... So many of these opportunities began with a conversation that starts with something similar to, "Zak, you are too good to be just a teacher." And, quite frankly, I have always taken offense to that statement.
That was Zak Champagne, the 2010 Teacher of the Year in Duval County, writing on Rick Hess' blog for Education Week. Zak has some great thoughts about career laddering for teachers, which he details in blog posts here and here.
The need for a more diverse array of teacher leadership and career development is one of the reasons why the Jacksonville Public Education Fund is exploring the Center for Teaching Quality's New Millennium Initiative. You can find out way more about it here, but the gist of the program is this: Cultivate cohorts of young (and "young-thinking") teacher leaders so that they can get involved in policy decisions without having to leave the classroom.
JPEF brought CTQ director Barnett Berry to Jacksonville last month to present to groups of local officials, donors and young teachers who would potentially be a part of the New Millennium Initiative - Zak, of course, being one of them.
His ideas fit right in with the New Millennium Initiative, such as creating mentor teachers who would have a classroom of their own who could meet and share best practices with other teachers, and giving exceptional teachers a bigger say in important issues.
As Zak writes, "After all, if we are losing our most dynamic teachers because they feel there are only pathways 'out' of the classroom, then how will we continue to teach tomorrow's students?"
What do you think? Should we re-structure the career ladder for teachers to allow them to stay in the classroom?