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University of Houston Announces First Cohort of Master Teacher Fellows in partnership with the National Math + Science Initiative

Houston, TX (May 21, 2018) – The College of Education and the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics at the University of Houston have announced the inaugural cohort of master teacher fellows participating in a new, intensive science, technology, engineering and math program. The 15 fellows are expected to impact more than 150,000 students in the greater Houston area.
The 14-month program, Enhancing STEM Teacher Leadership through Equity and Advocacy Development (LEAD) in Houston, is funded by a $2.8 million National Science Foundation grant awarded to the teachHOUSTON program, a collaboration between the two colleges. A second cohort of 15 teachers is expected to start the program in 2019.
“We’re thrilled for what this means for the City of Houston and how this program will help lay a foundation for teacher development across the country,” said Paige Evans, a clinical professor in teachHOUSTON in the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics and principal investigator for the grant. “This cohort has the unique opportunity to serve as leaders and change agents at the local, state and national level. Together they will impact communities by transforming STEM teaching practices which will help prepare students for success and citizenship in the 21st century.”
The award funds tuition and fees for middle and high school teachers to pursue a Master of Education degree in curriculum and instruction with an emphasis on STEM education. The 15 master fellow teachers also will receive supplements to their salaries to lead STEM professional development in their own schools after they've finished the program and will receive instructional coaching, policy advocacy and culturally-responsive teaching.

The first cohort includes:

  • Sergio Arjon, Mirabeau B. Lamar High School, Pre-IB Biology/Biology, Grade 9 (Houston ISD)
  • Amanda Campos, Landrum Middle School, Science, Grade 7 (Spring Branch ISD)
  • Mayra Foose, Anthony Aguirre Junior High, Mathematics, Grade 8 (Channelview ISD)
  • Anastasia Fress, Galena Park High School, Mathematics, Grades 9-10 (Galena Park ISD)
  • Joshua Garcia, Carnegie Vanguard High School, Pre-AP Biology, Pre-AP Chemistry, and AP Physics 1, Grades 9-11 (Houston ISD)
  • Susan Holzknecht, WoodCreek Junior High, Science, Grade 8 (Katy ISD)
  • Armando Morales, Pasadena High School, AP Physics 1, Grade 11 (Pasadena ISD)
  • Rodolfo Morales, Heights High School, Algebra II, Grades 9-10 (Houston ISD)
  • Alissandre Robbins, Spring Forest Middle School, Science, Grade 6 (Spring Branch ISD)
  • Marina Rodriguez, Sharpstown International School, Algebra II, Engineering Math, Grades 8-12 (Houston ISD)
  • Rosalinda Serna, South Houston High School, Biology, Grade 9 (Pasadena ISD)
  • Sarah Vanderpool, Spring Woods High School, Mathematics, Grade 9 (Spring Branch ISD)
  • Anne Marie Wakefield, Carnegie Vanguard High School, AP Physics, Grades 11-12 (Houston ISD)
  • Sha’rell Webb, Lamar Fleming Middle School, Science, Grade 8 (Houston ISD)
  • Erin Wise, West Memorial Junior High, Science, Grade 6 (Katy ISD)

At a recent gathering, the fellows were introduced to the degree course schedule and the National Math and Science Initiative’s Laying the Foundation program, which the fellows will receive in addition to their master's courses. Students whose teachers have participated in NMSI's Laying the Foundation have been found to perform better on standardized tests than students of other teachers.
“Student success begins with teachers who are highly knowledgeable in their subject matter and highly skilled at instructing diverse classrooms,” said Ronda Brandon, senior director of STEM teacher pathways at the National Math and Science Initiative. "We are honored to provide these teachers with training proven to enhance learning in STEM courses."
To further the impact of the program, the grant will pay salary stipends for the graduates to train other teachers at schools serving significant populations of students who are underrepresented in high-demand STEM careers.
“STEM literacy is a critical key to unlocking student potential – especially for students who are furthest from opportunity – and we’re pleased to partner with a program that brings Houston closer to ensuring those skills and knowledge,” Brandon said.  
About the University of Houston
The University of Houston is a Carnegie-designated Tier One public research university recognized with a Phi Beta Kappa chapter for excellence in undergraduate education. UH serves the globally competitive Houston and Gulf Coast Region by providing world-class faculty, experiential learning and strategic industry partnerships. Located in the nation's fourth-largest city and one of the most ethnically and culturally diverse regions in the country, UH is a federally designated Hispanic- and Asian-American-Serving institution with enrollment of more than 45,000 students.

About National Math + Science Initiative
NMSI, a nonprofit organization, was launched in 2007 by top leaders in business, education and science to transform education in the United States. Nationwide, the NMSI program has expanded to more than 1,200 schools across 34 states. NMSI has received national recognition for training grade 3-12 teachers and improving student performance through the rapid expansion of highly successful programs: the College Readiness Program, Laying the Foundation and the UTeach Expansion Program. For more information, visit www.nms.org.