New Class of Rodel Teacher Council Announced
The Rodel Foundation of Delaware this week officially kicked off the 2016-17 class of the Rodel Teacher Council, and introduced the 29 exemplary teachers who will serve as its members.
Members represent all three counties, a variety of grade levels and subject areas, and bring a broad cross-section of leadership perspectives. In all, the council members boast over 369 years of combined teaching experience.
During the 2016-2017 term, the council will continue its work of scaling personalized learning statewide while removing barriers to personalized learning currently in place. As with previous years, council members will meet with and hear from key education leaders and policymakers, and in the winter, they will host a personalize learning workshop for fellow educators.
Personalized learning puts students at the center of the learning environment. Instruction is tailored to students’ specific academic needs, personal interests, and learning style—while they are enabled to learn at their own time, pace, place, and approach.
In just three years, the Rodel Teacher Council has contributed to the education conversation in Delaware in many ways. The group has met with local and national education experts and policymakers, including legislators, the State Board of Education, the governor, DSEA leadership, PTA leadership, and others.
They wrote and published the Blueprint for Personalized Learning in Delaware, one of the first examples of teachers developing policy recommendations for personalized learning. Council members regularly write opinion letters and blog posts for local and national audiences, and serve on statewide working groups and committees to inform and shape the future of education in Delaware.
The 2016-17 Rodel Teacher Council Members are:
Jenna Argo, Millsboro Middle School, Indian River School District
Sherlynn Aurelio, Harry O. Eisenberg Elementary School, Colonial School District
Shani Benson,* South Dover Elementary School, Capital School District
Kate Bowski, Milton Elementary School, Cape Henlopen School District
Tim Brewer,* Hodgson Vocational Technical High School, New Castle County Vo-Tech School District
Wendee Bull, Georgetown Middle School, Indian River School District
Lyndsey Cook, William Henry Middle School, Capital School District
Luke Crossan, Alfred G Waters Middle School, Appoquinimink School District
Elizabeth Washam, Freire Charter School
Karen Eller,* Stubbs Elementary School, Christina School District
Joseph Evans, Delcastle Technical High School, New Castle County Vo-Tech School District
Mary Grace Flowers, New Castle Elementary School, Colonial School District
Kristin Gray, Shields Elementary School, Cape Henlopen School District
Melissa Grunewald,* Phillip C. Showell Elementary School, Indian River School District
Robyn Howton,* Mount Pleasant High school, Brandywine School District
Jessica Inskeep, Freire Charter School
Michele Johnson,* Towne Point Elementary School, Capital School District
Cheryl Jones, First State Montessori Academy
Jared Lelito,* Fred Fifer III Middle School, Caesar Rodney School District
Joyce Lester, Sarah Pyle Academy, Christina School District
Lisa Mims,* Pleasantville Elementary School, Colonial School District
Kimberly Neal, Brandywine High School, Brandywine School District
Lori Nichols, Brandywine Springs School, Red Clay Consolidated School District
Lori Roe, Cape Henlopen School District
Tara Saladyga,* Delcastle Technical High School, New Castle County Vo-Tech School District
Judi Spencer,* W.T. Chipman Middle School, Lake Forest School District
Jermaine Williams,* St. Georges Technical High School, New Castle County Vo-Tech School District
Michelle Wilson,* Booker T Washington Elementary School, Capital School District
*- Returning member
Read the members full biographies here.
About The Rodel Teacher Council
The first Rodel Teacher Council was convened by the Rodel Foundation of Delaware in 2013 to elevate the voices of teachers, represent the diversity of the teaching force in Delaware schools, provide a venue for teachers to weigh in on important issues affecting their work, and help set the course for education improvement in Delaware.
The council is a group of teacher leaders dedicated to finding solutions, improving their craft, and leveraging their voices for the benefit of their students.
Blueprint for Personalized Learning in Delaware
In October 2014, the Rodel Teacher Council published the Blueprint for Personalized Learning in Delaware, which identifies state and local policy improvements that would enable personalized learning. The document is one of the first examples of educators developing policy recommendations for personalized learning in the nation. So far, the Blueprint site has garnered over 3,500 page views from all over Delaware and the country, and as far away as Russia and Australia.
In spring 2016, the council will release policy projects providing further insight and detail into specific policy shifts related to personalized learning and how Delaware can take an innovative approach to scaling this practice across the state.
Council members have also contributed to the education conversation by writing op-eds and blog posts for local and national audiences and serving on statewide working groups and committees to inform and shape the future of education in Delaware.
Personalized Learning Workshop for Teachers
The Rodel Teacher Council also hosts a workshop on personalized learning for teachers. The workshop is an opportunity for teachers from all across the state to collaborate and learn from each other. In 2015, attendees represented teachers from a cross section of grade levels and schools, with more than 100 educators in attendance sharing best practices, lesson plans, strategies, and tools that tie into the tenets of personalized learning.
From our Alumni:
“The Rodel Teacher Council was valuable because it was a chance to have important conversations with teacher colleagues from all different backgrounds, grade levels, and content areas. People might have thought we wouldn’t have a lot in common, but it was a really wonderful way to get out of my classroom and connect with like-minded colleagues and contribute to the larger conversations around education in Delaware.”
– Tricia Dallas, Early Childhood Special Education Teacher, Richardson Park Learning Center, Red Clay Consolidated School District
“I really appreciated the work we did around the capstone projects: the Blueprint for Personalized Learning and the teacher workshop. We have something to look back on and say ‘We did this.’ The whole concept of having teacher input on statewide efforts to improve education was very positive and exciting to me.”
– Sharon Hardnett, Secondary Mathematics Teacher, Concord High School, Brandywine School District
“My experience with the Rodel Teacher Council was unique because of the opportunities to collaborate with teachers outside of my school on a variety of projects—that was the most valuable element of the program for me. I also really appreciated the opportunities to go on field trips and see things that were happening beyond the walls of my own classroom—this gave me lots of ideas for things I could do with my students and helped me to think outside-the-box about my work.”
– Paul Ramirez, Assistant Head of Academics at Freire Charter School Wilmington, and former English Teacher and English Chair at Howard High School of Technology
“I really appreciated the opportunity to collaborate with other teachers who were so driven and dedicated to improving their craft, as well as the dedication to improving students’ experiences and outcomes. The Rodel Teacher Council was a great professional development opportunity and I highly recommend it to colleagues.”
– Kacie Versaci, 8th Grade Math and Upper School Chair, Prestige Academy Charter School