GHS Spanish teacher Williams selected for policy fellowship
A Greencastle High School teacher has been selected as one of 13 teachers from around the state chosen for a program in which they will learn more about the policy that shapes education.
Not only that, but Spanish teacher Matt Williams is the youngest of the group selected for the Teach Plus Policy Fellowship, a group that stretches from two to 26 years of teaching experience.
The Logansport native and Indiana University graduate recently began his third year of teaching, all of them at GHS.
Teach Plus is a national teacher leadership organization. The fellowship is a yearlong opportunity for current educators to learn about the policy landscape and advocate for solutions that improve opportunities for students, all while maintaining their critical role as classroom teachers.
Former GHS counselor Rose Stephens, now a math teacher, heard about the opportunity and recommended that Williams look into it. He sees the fellowship as a way to serve both his students and the education landscape as a whole.
I looked at the program and it kind of fit with exactly what I wanted to do, which is to advocate for the career without leaving the career, Williams said. It seemed right up my alley, and I applied and there it was.
The cohort includes school and district teachers of the year, with both union and non-union members. Half the educators entered the profession via a traditional program and the other half came in via an alternative pathway.
With a third of the cohort identifying as teachers of color compared to less than 10 percent of teachers statewide Teach Plus Indiana Policy Fellows are reflective of the diversity of the state and its students. The educators hail from urban, rural and suburban areas, teaching a variety of subjects and age levels from kindergarten to 12th grade.
For his part, Williams hopes to become more aware of how the decisions of policymakers shape the experiences of teachers and students.
I really just hope not to be scared by the political talk, that back and forth with policy and also not to have my head in the sand, Williams said. My biggest thing is to get the tools to advocate for teachers and for students without having to leave the classroom.
The other 12 Indiana Policy Fellows are: Ana Acosta Bethel Park Elementary, Piloted Schools Indianapolis; Sarah Archer Chapelwood Elementary School, MSD Wayne; Kelly Chevalier Crown Point High School, Crown Point Community Schools; Ashley Hogan Emma Donnan Middle School Adelante Schools, Indianapolis Public Schools; Chelsea Howard Union Jr./Sr. High School, Union School Corporation; Eric Marty Lawrence Central High School, MSD Lawrence Township; Kassondra Musick Northview Middle School, MSD Washington Township; Edgar Saucedo-Davila Goshen Junior High School, Goshen Community Schools; Shaunestte Smith West Lafayette Elementary, West Lafayette Community School Corporation; Jeff Swisher Oliver P. Morton High School, School City of Hammond; Hollie Vessels Riverside Intermediate School, Hamilton Southeastern Schools; and Deandrea Williams Believe Circle City High School, Indianapolis Charter School.