National Network of State Teachers of the Year (NNSTOY)

Educator Voice Opportunities: Teacher Candidate Fellowship, Outstanding Black Male Educators Fellowship

States with Educator Voice Opportunities: Connecticut, Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, Maine, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Utah

NNSTOY is a network of outstanding and recognized teachers who use their teacher leadership to improve learning for all students. NNSTOY focuses its voice in three areas: policy, professional practice, and advocacy. Serving as a professional home to State Teachers of the Year (STOYs) and State Teacher of the Year Finalists, NNSTOY provides active and meaningful roles for educators to advance student learning and support the teaching profession.  

NNSTOY is committed to a strong research agenda in which teacher researchers collaborate with scientists and partners to design, carry out, and publish the findings of models and effective practices of teacher leadership and career advancement opportunities. Recent topics of publications have included social justice resources, perspectives on teacher evaluation and support systems, and social and emotional development.

As part of its commitment to help recruit and retain outstanding teacher leaders, NNSTOY offers a series of seven courses in teacher leadership. These professional learning courses, developed and facilitated by State Teachers of the Year and Finalists, help other educators expand their teacher leadership and improve their professional practice.

NNSTOY also offers multiple fellowship opportunities. The one-year Teacher Candidate Fellowship provides strong teacher candidates with access to the tools, training, and opportunities they need to become educational leaders. The Outstanding Black Male Educators Fellowship provides a forum for Black male educators to discuss their challenges and triumphs and build their professional practice. The ultimate aim for the fellowship is to model what a recruiting and retention effort could look like for African American males in the educational system. NNSTOY also has fellowships for STEM educators and educators interested in advancing social and emotional skills.

What have been your organization’s biggest accomplishments while exploring educator voice work?

We have been pleased with our extensive and growing body of work on social justice and educational equity, a challenge that has become increasingly important to our members and the organization as a whole. We have held a series of webinars, conducted research, produced videos, written extensively on the topic, published a Social Justice Book List, and devoted a strand of our national teacher leadership conference to improving educational equity.

We are especially proud that our equity work and our work in teacher leadership have spread well beyond the boundaries of our members. Our webinars, professional learning and conferences engage educators from all over the world. In this way we both learn from other educators and contribute to strengthening the profession.

NNSTOY works with research partners to create reports and recommendations that help policymakers make good education decisions, such as our latest (with ETS), Teacher Evaluation and Support Systems. We have also worked directly with members of Congress to develop and comment on proposed legislation, including the Teacher Health and Wellness Act, the Teachers and Parents at the Table Act, and the Teachers as Leaders Act. In July we organized and prepared members for a Day on the Hill in Washington, DC, during which educators from states met with Congressional Representatives and Senators. Currently, we are preparing state chapters to replicate this work at the state level.

We publish surveys of our membership’s views about important policy topics, such as ESSA implementation and federal policy priorities. We also release statements about policies affecting our students, such as when we issued a statement recently on DACA.

What advice do you have for other advocacy organizations thinking about engaging educators?

Work to involve as many different voices as possible and to ensure that under-represented voices are included. Be intentional about moving beyond your organization’s most heard voices and resolve to engage those with disparate views.


Recent Priorities

The topics below represent this member’s recent priorities, as they’ve reported through the annual PIE Network legislative and policy survey. If no priorities are listed, this member is new to the Network and/or has not yet participated in this survey. For much greater detail about all PIE Network members’ recent campaigns, members can access the PIE Network Policy Map here. If you have questions on the PIE Network legislative and policy survey or the Policy Map, contact Lukas.

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