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The Fund for Transforming Education in Kentucky (The Fund) inspires and scales innovation and excellence in Kentucky’s public schools, resulting in a better future for all of our children. Here on our blog, we share about our work in a more in depth manner. Blog posts are written by staff members, teachers we work with, board members and others.

The Fund believes in unlocking the unique potential of every student by spreading innovative ideas, shining a spotlight on transforming teacher leadership, and driving sustainable change that will increase academic achievement for all students in Kentucky’s public education system.

Thank you for your consideration and visiting our blog. If you share in our vision of an innovative education culture, we welcome the opportunity to partner with you. Please visit our website at www.thefundky.org for more information.

Barbara Bellissimo

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

How This CEO Thinks About Teachers

By: Barbara Bellissimo

I hated school. I was smart, didn’t have to study, and was easily bored. I did not appreciate most of my teachers. Part of the reason I got into this work was to help transform the system to keep every student engaged and excited about learning.

During this Teacher Appreciation Week, I looked back on my own journey through the public education system. Here are the teachers that made an impact--positively and negatively--on me:
  • In first grade, Mrs. Fox used to smack our hands with rulers when we misbehaved.
  • In fifth grade, Miss Barre had the most deadly aim I’ve ever seen with an eraser.
  • In ninth grade, Mrs. Sullivan told me that she thought I could handle calculus in senior year, but I’d have to take geometry over the summer (I did).
  • In tenth grade, Mrs. Yandle encouraged us to direct plays in Spanish (among tons of other fun stuff).
  • In twelfth grade, Mr. Baldwin (father of Alec) told me that I shouldn’t tolerate Cosmopolitan magazine covers because they objectified women.
I also look around at my work now, I see way more Mrs. Yandles and Mr. Baldwins than I do Miss Barres. It’s my honor to support so many teachers across Kentucky who realize the impact they can have on every child. In my short time here, two years this August, I have had the honor of working with so many terrific teachers. Here are just a few:
  • Elizabeth Lovett, an elementary music teacher in Knox County, who is developing a program to get more retired educators involved as mentors for 2nd-4th year teachers in public schools.
  • Eddie Mullins, a high school English teacher in Fayette County, who’s working with a group of KY teachers across the state to develop common units of study with a similar group of teachers in Colorado.
  • MeMe Ratliff, a physical education teacher in Jefferson County, who has inspired and empowered hundreds of teachers across the state to come together to elevate and celebrate each others’ work.
  • Natalie McCutchen, a middle school Math teacher in Simpson County, who’s stepping out of her comfort zone exploring standards based teaching.
  • Jennifer Montgomery, a high school teacher at Eminence Independent Schools, who asked me to come in and teach her students how to raise money for a trip to Nicaragua to help fellow students there. They had a great trip.

I’m sure that you know some pretty great teachers, too. Please click here and tell us about them. We’d like to make sure the rest of the state knows about them too!

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