Hamilton Herald Masthead


Front Page - Friday, August 10, 2018

Project Inspire teachers join Hamilton Schools

The Project Inspire teacher residency, a partnership among the Public Education Foundation, Hamilton County Schools and Lee University, is celebrating the graduation of 20 new teachers.

“PEF is proud of these teachers beginning their careers in Hamilton County’s high-needs schools and grateful that talented individuals from across the country chose to work with students in our community,” says Dan Challener, PEF president.

During the past year, each teacher earned a Master of Arts in teaching at Lee University while working alongside a mentor teacher in a high-needs school in Hamilton County.

“We at Lee University have enjoyed working with these students and Hamilton County Schools. This partnership has benefitted all of us, and we’re looking forward to seeing the great work these teachers will accomplish in the coming years,” says Bill Estes, dean of Lee University’s College of Education.

“I’m thrilled to be able to teach at Orchard Knob Elementary and grateful for the opportunity that has been given to me by Project Inspire and Lee University,” says Jonathan Ramirez, a Project Inspire graduate. “Now I have the opportunity and responsibility to teach my students in the most relevant way and remain committed to the community.”

“Our students deserve teachers who want to be here and are committed to being a part of the positive change and culture in our schools,” says LaFrederick Thirkill, principal of Orchard Knob Elementary. “We believe the Project Inspire graduates will bring those qualities to their work, as they have already demonstrated their talent by completing a rigorous residency and impressed us with their strong sense of commitment to us throughout the hiring process,”

The PEF has been training new teachers since 2011, first through the Teach Here residency and now through Project Inspire. With a network of alumni working in schools across Hamilton County, Project Inspire aims to provide a pathway for aspiring teachers to earn a degree in education while serving their community.

All 20 Project Inspire graduates were hired by Hamilton County Schools to teach during the 2018-2019 school year. The majority will work in Opportunity Zone schools.

Barger Academy

Matthew Bradshaw and Kelly Gibson

Clifton Hills Elementary

James Cunningham and Rachel Graham

Dalewood Middle

Makenzie Vandiver

East Lake Elementary

Mary Ann Clelland, Hannah Clem, Whit Miller and Lauren Velo

East Ridge High

Hannah Pell and Amanda Akin

East Side Elementary

Catherine Casselman

Ooltewah Middle

Jennifer Riley

Orchard Knob Middle

Owen Bogolin

Orchard Knob Elementary

Alexis Wyatt, Jonathan Ramirez, and Shaina Ranjan

Red Bank High

Nick Boehm

Woodmore Elementary

Emily Hoffman and Mackenzie Eschmann

Source: The PEF