The members of the fourth class of the innovative Woodrow Wilson Indiana Teaching Fellows have been selected and will join the ranks of those expanding the reach of top math and science teachers in Indiana's urban and rural schools. Governor Mitch Daniels today introduced the newest fellows, 54 top recent graduates and accomplished career changers in science, mathematics, engineering, and technology (STEM).
"The Woodrow Wilson Fellows are already becoming a material percentage of all the math and science teachers we need in the State of Indiana," said Daniels. "This is not a 30 or 40 year march that we're on. This is something that can have a detectable difference in just a few years. For all these reasons and more we remain incredibly proud to be home to this effort."
Since the governor championed the program several years ago, some 225 fellows have completed it and participating universities have redesigned their preparation programs. Teachers from the first two classes of fellows are already working in classrooms around the state, with teachers from the 2011 cohort now ready for their assignments. Ninety-nine percent of those who have completed the program are in classrooms.
The morning announcement also featured the presentation of the first-ever Mitch Daniels Award for Excellence in Teaching. The award, created by the Woodrow Wilson Foundation, honors a fellow who is already demonstrating the fellowship's principles of excellence. The recipient of the award this year is David Johnson III, a 2009 fellow now teaching math at Lynhurst 7th and 8th Grade Center in Indianapolis. Mr. Johnson, a former mortgage broker and math tutor, is demonstrating consistently strong academic performance and also coaches 8th grade football and advises leadership groups for young men of color.
"Whenever an organization creates an award, it is critical that it be named for a person who embodies and personifies its values," said Dr. Arthur Levine, president of the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation. "That is why we decided to name our award the Mitch Daniels Award for Excellence in Teaching."
Each fellow receives a $30,000 stipend to complete a special intensive master's program at one of four Indiana partner universities and to defray expenses while transitioning to the teaching profession. The four partner campuses are Ball State University, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, Purdue University, and the University of Indianapolis.
All of the universities train teachers in local classrooms, the way physicians learn in hospitals and attorneys in law offices. Programs also include intensive emphasis on specific teaching approaches for the STEM fields.
The Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation of Princeton, N.J. administers the program, which has been funded with $15 million in grants from Lilly Endowment Inc. and a supplemental $3 million in state support.
The announcement of the 2012 Fellows comes at the conclusion of a rigorous year-long application and selection process. After a year of classroom-based preparation, fellows commit to teach for at least three years in a high-need Indiana school, with ongoing support and mentoring. The fellows named today will begin their master's work this summer and be ready to enter their own classrooms in the fall of 2013.
The 2012 group of Fellows is the fourth named in Indiana. In 2009, Michigan and Ohio created similar Woodrow Wilson programs, with other states also seeking to adopt the Woodrow Wilson model.
"With some 225 Woodrow Wilson Indiana Teaching Fellows to date, we estimate that these teachers will reach more than 23,000 students every year," said Levine. "The fellows represent a 25 percent annual increase in Indiana's supply of STEM teachers. Beyond that, the four university partners have changed the way they prepare STEM teachers, and we think that, too, has a ripple effect for the others teachers they graduate, and for classrooms around the state."
Founded in 1945, the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation (www.woodrow.org) prepares the nation's best minds to meet its most important challenges, working through education. The Foundation supports its fellows as the next generation of leaders shaping American society.
Audio of today's event may be found here: