McConnell Elementary teacher selected for Tennessee Educator Fellowship
Posted on 05/08/2019
Photo of Caroline Souza.Caroline Souza, a third-grade teacher at McConnell Elementary School, is one of thirty-one fellows selected for the 2019-20 Tennessee Educator Fellowship class. She has been teaching for six years.

Souza went through a competitive admissions process and was chosen based on her teaching experience and desire to make an impact beyond the classroom. As a fellow, Souza will work alongside the thirty other selected educators and participate in local and state-level conversations centered on preparing all students to be successful in college, career, and beyond.

“I am elated to have been selected for the 2019-2020 Tennessee Educator Fellowship,” said Caroline Souza. “I am ready to get started because this unique opportunity will allow me to grow professionally and pursue advocacy that impacts students and teachers beyond my classroom and school.”

The Tennessee Educator Fellowship is a yearlong program which equips teachers, counselors, interventionists, and librarians to understand education policy better and advocate for their students and their profession. Those selected will engage in education policy by speaking at events, hosting policymakers in their classrooms, writing about their experiences in state and national publications, creating regional professional networks, and serving on state-level policy committees. Throughout the upcoming year, Souza and her fellow educators will learn through both in-person and online meetings and will serve as the connection between their colleagues, communities, and policymakers to ensure academic achievement for all students.

The new Tennessee Educator Fellowship group is the sixth class of educators selected. The fellows chosen for the 2019-20 cohort have a combined teaching experience of 358 years and represent elementary, middle and high schools in 26 districts across East, Middle and West Tennessee. The members of this cohort teach English language arts, math, science, social studies, STEM, construction trades and special education in urban, suburban and rural schools.

The fellowship was established by the State Collaborative on Reforming Education (SCORE) in 2014. Past fellows have led new education initiatives and worked to improve outcomes for all students. Their work has included advocating for the use of high-quality instructional materials; starting a leadership academy for students to explore a career in teaching; bringing community leaders into classrooms to discuss the importance of literacy in their careers; expanding access to early post-secondary opportunities for students; amplifying the voice, presence and support for educators of color; and much more. Fellows also have engaged in education conversations at the local, state and national levels and written op-eds and blog posts for news and education outlets, including The Tennessean, Education Post, and Hechinger Report.