Education Secretary Duncan Announces 16 Teachers Selected for Teaching Ambassador Fellowships

Archived Information

Education Secretary Duncan Announces 16 Teachers Selected for Teaching Ambassador Fellowships

August 1, 2011

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan today announced the names of 16 teachers selected to be Teaching Ambassador Fellows for the upcoming 2011-12 school year. Five teachers will become full-time employees at Department of Education headquarters in Washington, D.C. while 11 will remain in their classrooms and participate on a part-time basis.

“I am committed to listening to teachers’ voices as we work to develop policies that will support reform and strengthen the teaching profession,” said Duncan. “Since I’ve come to Washington, I’ve come to rely on the Teaching Ambassador Fellows for their invaluable feedback and their ability to facilitate dialogue with teachers across the country. I look forward to working closely with this year’s Teaching Ambassadors, particularly as we work to fix the No Child Left Behind Act.”

Now in its fourth year, the Teaching Ambassador Fellowships were created to give outstanding teachers an opportunity to learn about national policy issues in education, and to contribute their expertise to those discussions. Fellows, in turn, share what they’ve learned with other teachers in their professional networks, contributing to a larger understanding of federal initiatives and encouraging broader input into policy and programs designed to improve education at all levels of government. The 2011-2012 Fellows join a network and continue to work with the Department’s 54 previous Fellows from the past three classes.

The 16 new fellows are participating in a four-day summit beginning today at the Department’s headquarters to become more familiar with Federal education policy and learn and share effective techniques for enhancing communication between teachers and other stakeholders and education policy leaders. The summit will jumpstart their year-long dialogue with Secretary Duncan and other department officials about school and classroom practices that advance learning and student achievement.

Last year’s fellows led a number of initiatives to enhance the work of the Education Department, including: writing and releasing a video entitled “A Teacher’s Guide to Fixing No Child Left Behind,” creating an interactive “teacher landing” page on the Department’s web site ( to connect teachers with a variety of resources useful in their work; developing, organizing, and writing case studies for the Department’s first Labor-Management Collaboration conference, and holding conversations and discussion groups around the country with youth and teachers on a range of subjects, including teacher evaluation, student engagement, and college planning.

This year’s 16 fellows were selected from a pool of almost 750 applications submitted through an open process in which teachers and instructional specialists working at preschool through high school levels submitted essays demonstrating their impact on student achievement, record of leadership, communication skills and insight into educational policy from school and classroom experience. These applicants ranged from traditional public and charter schools to alternative schools and for the first time included teachers from non-public schools. Applications were received from teachers in nearly every State, at every grade level and instructional area, who teach in a wide variety of urban, rural, and suburban settings.

The following five teachers have been selected as Washington Fellows who will be placed to work full-time at the Department of Education’s headquarters:

  • Geneviève DeBose, 5th and 6th grade teacher from the Bronx Charter School for the Arts will work on middle-school reform in the Office of the Secretary.
  • Claire Jellinek, an 11th and 12th grade social studies teacher from South Valley Academy charter high school in Albuquerque, NM, will work in the Office of Innovation and Improvement
  • Gregory Mullenholz, a staff development teacher at Twinbrook Elementary in Rockville, MD, will work on teacher quality issues in the Office of the Secretary.
  • Shakera Walker, a kindergarten teacher in the Young Achievers Science and Math School in Boston, MA will work for the Department's Early Learning Initiatives.
  • Maryann Woods-Murphy, a high school Spanish teacher at Northern Highlands Regional High school in Bergen County, NJ, will work on labor/management issues in the Office of the Secretary.

The following 11 teachers have been selected as Classroom Fellows:

  • Robert Baroz, a literacy facilitator at Curley Middle School in Boston, Mass.
  • Kareen Borders, an aerospace, physical and Earth science teacher at Key Peninsula Middle School in Lakebay, Wash.
  • Dexter Chaney II, a 3rd grade teacher at Ryerson Elementary School in Chicago, Ill.
  • Juan Govea, a 9th-12th grade biology teacher at Salinas High School in Salinas, Calif.
  • Leah Lechleiter-Luke, a high school English and Spanish teacher at Mauston High School in Mauston, Wisc.
  • Angela McClary-Rush, an elementary through high school Language Arts specialist in Williamsburg County School District in Kingstree, S.C.
  • Madonna Ramp, a teacher mentor at Austin Independent School District in Austin, Tex.
  • Gamal Sherif, a 9th grade African-American History and Biochemistry teacher at Science Leadership Academy in Philadelphia, Penn.
  • Sharla Steever, a 4th grade teacher at Hill City Elementary School in Hill City, S.D.
  • Bruce Taterka, an 11th and 12th grade teacher of AP and IB Science at West Morris Mendham High School in Mendham, N.J.
  • Bruce Wellman, a Chemistry/Material Science and Engineering Design teacher at Olathe Northwest High School in Olathe, Kans.