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Inspiring the Next Generation of Great Teachers

  • Students were excited to meet The Teachers of Promise Foundation Founder and President, Wade Whitehead '94.
    Students were excited to meet The Teachers of Promise Foundation Founder and President, Wade Whitehead '94.  (from left) Kelley Clarke, W&M Clinical Placements and Licensure Manager; Fiona Craib M.A.Ed. ’19; Ashley Smith M.A.Ed. ’19; Lisa Petrovich M.A.Ed. ’19; Kate Scott M.A.Ed. ’19 and Wade Whitehead ’94.  
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As we celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week, think about a teacher who has inspired you — someone who was a mentor, guiding you to become the person you are today. Before teachers even begin their careers, they aspire to be that one teacher who makes a difference in the lives of their students.

Inspiring change was the theme of this year's Teachers of Promise Institute, where students in the School of Education's teacher preparation programs heard impactful stories from veteran teachers from across Virginia.

Speaker Baruti K. Kafele's words "I am a teacher on a mission," resonated with Lisa Petrovich M.A.Ed. '19. "My work does not stop when I leave the school building; no matter what I am doing, watching, or reading, I am usually connecting it to or considering its impact on education," she said.

During the conference, four William & Mary students were inducted into the Teachers of Promise program. Petrovich, who is secondary social studies education student, was joined by two elementary educators, Kate Scott M.A.Ed. '19 and Ashley Smith M.A.Ed. '19, and Fiona Craib M.A.Ed. '19, special education.

Teachers of Promise was founded to "celebrate the next generation of great teachers and provide professional development initiatives that create new and exciting opportunities for practicing educators to impact the future of their profession."

The two-day conference includes sessions and workshops on the latest teaching strategies and tools for success in the classroom. For preservice teachers, the Institute is a source of invaluable assistance, preparing them for all of the new experiences of their first year of teaching, from the interview process to managing their own classroom. "This was the refresh button I really needed during student teaching," said Scott. "It was an opportunity to collaborate with so many amazing educators, share struggles and encouragements, and set new goals."

The Institute also creates a "fleet" of teaching support, as described by Founder and President and William & Mary alumnus, Wade Whitehead '94. Mentorship and networking give new teachers the support needed in their critical first few years of teaching when many change careers because of the challenges faced in the classroom. Honored to be selected for the Institute, Petrovich discovered “a world of innovative and energetic master educators with whom she was able to connect.”

Both Scott and Petrovich look forward to graduation this weekend and plan to begin their careers teaching locally next year.