Story Series: Leadership & Impact

Story Series: Leadership & Impact

One of the main ways TeachHouse empowers early-career teachers is by providing leadership opportunities for fellows both in and out of the classroom. Over the past five years, these leadership opportunities have taken the form of establishing connections with leading educators, activists, and policy makers at community dinners; attending and hosting networking events with local business leaders and Duke alumni; exploring national and international education systems in Washington D.C., Finland, Canada, and Nepal; and most importantly cultivating a thriving, supportive peer living and learning community at home in Durham. Below, six of our fellows from the first five Resident Fellowship cohorts of Duke TeachHouse discuss their fellowships and the impact for them personally and professionally on their journey to become leaders in their classroom and school communities. 

Ashley on Leadership: "TeachHouse has helped me build confidence in myself to stand out as a leader in my school."

Duke TeachHouse fellow Ashley Pollard ('15-'18) discusses how viewing herself as a leader was essential in developing her confidence as an early-career teacher. Ashley's commitment to her students and pursuit of a variety of leadership opportunities, including serving as a representative to Durham Public School's Leadership Network, led to her recognition as Pearsontown Elementary's Beginning Teacher of the Year as well as a district finalist for Beginning Teacher of the Year. After her TeachHouse fellowship, Ashley attended Georgetown University's Master of Public Policy program and graduated in 2020. 

Corey on Networking: "TeachHouse's networking opportunities provide us both personal and professional development." 

Duke TeachHouse fellow Corey Bray ('17-'20) discusses how networking is essential both for his personal well-being as well as the future he sees for himself within the field of education. According to Corey, TeachHouse was essential in facilitating networking at the beginning of his career through events such as weekly community dinners with fellows and local education leaders. After his resident fellowship, Corey is pursing his PhD in Education at UNC Chapel Hill.

Emily on International Connections: "TeachHouse gives me the opportunity to be a part of something bigger than myself and my school." 

TeachHouse fellow Emily Stout ('16-'18) discusses how TeachHouse international education-related trips such as our visit to Finland in 2018 impacted her understanding of education at national and international levels. Emily says after numerous school visits, cultural activities, and conversations with TeachHouse and CCSU Teacher Leader colleagues, she walked away with a new understanding not only of Finnish education, but as well as a validation of her own professional practices. Emily teaches Social Studies at Enloe High School in Raleigh. 

Mary Margaret on Community: "Community Relationships have been a really important part of TeachHouse for me."

Duke TeachHouse fellow Mary Margaret Mills discusses how community relationships were an essential part of her fellowship experience. During her time at TeachHouse, Mary Margaret invited Dr. Tom Nechyba, Duke Professor of Economics, to visit her classroom to discuss microeconomics; hosted Dr. Alan Teasley, former DPS Administrator and Duke MAT Director, to teach students public speaking; and implemented an innovation project focusing on fostering leadership skills in Student Council members. Mary Margaret teaches Social Studies at Northern High School in Durham. 

Savannah on Leadership: "It's important for early-career teachers to have opportunities to pursue leadership both in and out of the classroom." 

Duke TeachHouse fellow Savannah Windham ('16-'18) discusses her leadership roles at Northern High School and how TeachHouse  broadened her impact as a teacher-leader outside of the classroom. Through TeachHouse, Savannah partcipated in many leadership opportunities including the National Humanities Center Triangle University Internship program where she worked with local humanities-related PhD students to design online curriculum that was shared at a national level. After her TeachHouse fellowship, Savannah joined the TeachHouse team as a Staff Specialist in Education and is pursuing her Masters in Education Innovation, Technology, and Entrepreneurship at UNC Chapel Hill. 

Yolanda on Peer Living & Learning Community: "It's really great to come home to fellow teachers who understand your experiences."

Duke TeachHouse fellow Yolanda Qin ('16-'18) discusses how TeachHouse's peer living and learning community was instrumental in supporting her as a beginning teacher. Yolanda says that her colleagues served as a constant source of support and encouragement and helped affirm her experiences. After her TeachHouse fellowship, Yolanda pursued a Masters of Information Science from UNC Chapel Hill.