Introducing: the New Teacher Program

By Rico Francis

Creating space for connection, fellowship, and belonging for Indy educators.

Nearly 600 teachers have begun their teaching careers across Center Township. How can our community play a role in retaining these talented educators? By creating space for connection, fellowship, and belonging. As we begin the 2021-22 school year, the Teach Indy Partnerships Sub-Committee, in partnership with the College Football Playoff Foundation and the 2022 College Football Playoff Host Committee, is stepping up to connect first-year teachers to the city around them with the New Teacher Program

We know that teachers are some of the most important assets to our city. The committee has come together to plan a series of quarterly events designed to immerse our first-year teachers in opportunities related to civic engagement, professional development, and straight-up fun. I can vividly remember my first interaction with Teach Indy when I attended an event at the Dallara Car factory two years ago. It was a unique opportunity to learn about Speedway, connect with other educators, and interact with several hands-on exhibits centered on racing.

Unlike other educator-centered events I had attended, I completely lost track of time since there were so many opportunities to get to know other educators. So many of us agreed that we needed more time to get together, share our stories, and empower each other. Although the event had ended, I found myself with a calendar full of weekend coffee dates and a few adventures exploring downtown. Each time we got together it was a new chance to realize why we all got into this work, our students.

It can be easy to forget to take care of yourself when you are invested so deeply in your career or passion. From Year 1 and all throughout their careers, we want Indy teachers to know that our city is taking fresh innovative approaches to create more space for you to connect with others who share your passion, recharge with immersive experiences, and get to know the city you live, work, and play in.

We’ve seen it time and time again – even in the face of an ongoing pandemic teachers continue to find ways to prioritize the needs of their students and themselves simultaneously (a true superpower). That is why the committee is taking the approach of helping first-year teachers further connect to resources that will benefit themselves and their classrooms. Each New Teacher Program event will recognize and welcome new-to-Indy teachers to our communities while helping them to create lasting connections to each other and the city around them.

This effort doesn’t start and stop with the committee, we need every resident to show their love and support for teachers. We will be announcing our first New Teacher Program event soon, and hope that you’ll join us in celebrating teachers and school communities across Indianapolis. They are our local superheroes.

Rico Francis is a Senior Manager at TNTP and a member of the Teach Indy Partnership Sub-Committee.

The Teach Indy Partnerships Sub-Committee will use the College Football Playoff Foundation platform to support Teach Indy in its efforts to recruit and retain outstanding educators for Indianapolis schools. The committee is made up of a diverse group of residents and educators that are passionate about supporting teachers and school communities across Indianapolis.

Meet the Committee:

Rico Francis, Senior Manager- Consulting, TNTP

Sue Welch, Legacy Projects, 2022 College Football Playoff-Indianapolis Host Committee

Caroline Kessner, Directory of Talent Management, Victory College Prep

John Kuykendall, Associate Professor & Dean, University of Indianapolis

Ryan Calvin, Director of Talent, Teach for America Indianapolis

Taylor Rhodes, Education Initiatives Manager, United Way of Central Indiana

Katelyn Sussli, Director of Engagement, IndyHub

Doneisha Posey, Vice President of Diversity, Equity, and Belonging, Ivy Tech Community College

 Ashanti Murdock, ​​Managing Director of Talent & Equity, KIPP Indy Public Schools

Christine Johnson, Vice President of Strategic Planning, Prolific

Sara Marshall, Senior Director of Talent, the Mind Trust