HOUSTON Teach Plus, a national teacher leadership organization, has selected 25 demonstrably effective teachers from seven school districts across Texas for its 2023-2024 Harmony Teacher Advisory Cabinet.
The cohort will focus on a range of issues of importance to Harmony Public Schools (HPS) teachers, students, and parents. Topics are determined in collaboration with the cabinet members and Harmony leaders. This year, teachers will address teacher leadership and development, teacher emotional well-being and mental health, curriculum, and the work of Campus Instructional Leadership Teams. The group will provide its solutions to policymakers at the end of the school year.
“Teachers are the strength of Harmony Public Schools. Ensuring they have a voice in the direction of our schools is critical to the success of our students, as well as the continued success of our system. The Teacher Advisory Cabinet is a powerful tool for making sure teachers continue to be heard, so that the great ideas developed in any one classroom have the power to reach all of our Harmony students across our system,” said Fatih Ay, Harmony Public Schools CEO/Superintendent.
Harmony Public Schools is a system of Texas public charter schools that provides education focused on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM). Teach Plus is entering into its 7th year of partnering with Harmony, working alongside its executive leadership team to develop systems of feedback that elevate teacher voice and support principals so that they understand distributed leadership. This year, this support includes partnering with the director of leadership development and the director of instruction to implement teacher leadership across 60 schools around Texas that serve more than 41,000 students.
“The Harmony Advisory Cabinet is a great forum to have Harmony educators from across Texas work together to come up with ways to continue to improve Harmony Public Schools. It is a place where educators can make positive changes carrying Harmony into the future,” said Toni Pina, Senior Cabinet Member who teaches at Harmony Science Academy in Odessa.
Founded in the 2017-2018 school year, the Harmony Teacher Advisory Cabinet works to ensure the effectiveness of system-wide teacher leadership work. The teacher leaders in the cabinet focus on incorporating teacher voice into planning across Harmony schools. In its first year, the cabinet provided advice on policy changes that improved the effectiveness of teacher leadership across the Harmony network; since then, the cabinet has grown to include other topics of importance. Accomplishments include:
- Additional training and support for campus and district leaders on distributed leadership
- Compensation for teacher leaders who hold multiple leadership roles
- Streamlining of the lesson planning and preparation process
- Professional development agenda adjustments to include time for teacher preparation and practice
- Improved implementation plans for emotional well-being and mental health
- Additional training and resources to support instructional improvement plans
The new cabinet members represent all of the regions of HPS. Their teaching experience ranges from three to 22 years, teaching grades Pre-K through 12th grade. The cabinet members have demonstrated their effectiveness through the rigorous application process and through HPS recognitions such as Micro-credentials and other important leadership roles within their districts.
Throughout the program, the cabinet members are trained in policy, advocacy, research, and communications and develop the skills necessary to advocate for changes for Harmony Public School students. They gather relevant feedback and analyze data. Each cabinet member was chosen based on their strong commitment to the classroom and to equity, their ability to articulate the needs of their students, and their pursuit of excellence and innovation in their teaching.
“Starting as a Cabinet Member and then becoming a Senior Cabinet Member has trained me to be a leader. The cabinet has allowed me the opportunity to collaborate with Harmony as a whole and see things from different perspectives. It has helped me to have a voice and know the best way to use it to improve teaching quality and student outcomes,” said Arinola Adedeji, who teaches at Harmony School of Ingenuity in Houston.
The 2023-2024 Harmony Teacher Advisory Cabinet Members are:
- Bilal Cindioglu, Harmony Science Academy – Beaumont
- Candace Stricklin, Harmony Science Academy – Fort Worth
- Candice Lee-Chong, Harmony Science Academy – Cypress
- Danielle Foxx-Martinez, Harmony School of Innovation – San Antonio
- Elizabeth Ciccarelli-Rosa, Harmony School of Endeavor – Houston
- Emmanuel Zakariya, Harmony Science Academy – Carrollton
- Francesca Houck, Harmony School of Endeavor – Austin
- Jeremy Wartko, Harmony School of Innovation – Houston
- Kerry Shea, Harmony School of Innovation, Elementary – El Paso
- Kimberly Bell, Harmony Science Academy – Fort Worth
- Kristen Auten, Harmony Science Academy – Grand Prairie
- Laurie Yankie, Harmony School of Innovation – Waco
- Malikh Dean-Boggus, Harmony School of Science – San Antonio
- Megan Jimerson, Harmony School of Science, Elementary – El Paso
- Mikaila Morrison, Harmony Science Academy – Grand Prairie
- Rachel Alvarez, Harmony School of Science – San Antonio
- Rajani Dhadral, Harmony School of Innovation – Katy
- Selami Bingol, Harmony Science Academy – Houston
- Stacey Robles, Harmony School of Innovation – San Antonio
- Syeda Ahmed, Harmony Science Academy – Sugarland
- The 2023-2024 Harmony Teacher Advisory Senior Cabinet Members are:
- Arinola Adedeji, Harmony School of Ingenuity – Houston
- Erin Teague, Harmony Science Academy – Sugar Land
- LaShaunika Ladmirault, Harmony School of Innovation – Sugar Land
- Marissa Godwin, Harmony Science Academy – Cedar Park
- Toni Pina, Harmony Science Academy – Odessa