Katie Taylor, a Clover Park High School classroom coach and National Board Certified Teacher, was one of 15 teachers selected as Teaching Ambassador Fellows for the 2010-11 school year by the U.S. Department of Education. Taylor will continue as a classroom coach, but will complete additional part time work as a fellow.
As part of her selection, Taylor participated in a five-day summit to learn about the education department’s programs as well as its priorities for the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. Taylor, along with the other Fellows, will work with U.S. Department of Education Secretary Arne Duncan and other department leaders to improve school and classroom practices that advance learning and student achievement.
To apply for the fellowship, Taylor, who was selected from 500 applicants, completed a three-part application process, first submitting an essay about her record of leadership, impact on student achievement, and insight into educational policy from her school and classroom experience. The next step was a phone interview and finally a face-to-face interview.
“This has been an incredible experience so far,” said Taylor. “It has really broadened my perspective on education on both state and federal levels—something I believe is important for all teachers to understand. This program is important because it brings together teachers who are actually ‘doing the work’ to help guide educational laws and policies.”
Taylor obtained her undergraduate degree in English literature from the University of Puget Sound and earned a master’s degree in English education from The Ohio State University. She has worked in education for 15 years, getting her start as a high school English teacher in Oregon.
“I wasn’t one of those people who always knew I’d be a teacher,” Taylor explained in her fellowship application essay. “But when I realized I could take my passion for the antiheroes I loved in literature and work to make learning relevant and significant for the real Holden Caulfields of the world, I heeded the call to teach.”
After obtaining her bachelor’s degree, and working in the non-profit sector, Taylor was offered two opportunities in one day—to be a grant writer for the Columbus Art Museum—or to begin the Master of Education program.
“I knew I wanted a career that would allow me to contribute to society. Unfortunately, I didn’t have high school teachers that inspired me, so after I chose teaching, I knew what kind of teacher I didn’t want to be,” said Taylor. “What gives me comfort in the face of the challenges of change is that come fall, every year, there will be students for whom education will make a profound difference in their lives—and every fall there will be teachers heeding the call to teach them—and that is all I need to know to show up and be of use.”
For more information about the Teaching Ambassador Fellows, visit www2.ed.gov/programs/teacherfellowship/index.html.