Thursday, October 24, 2013

Governor McDonnell Announces George Mason University as Location of Virginia Center for Excellence in Teaching

English: Hazel Hall, George Mason University S...
English: Hazel Hall, George Mason University School of Law. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
RICHMOND - Governor Bob McDonnell today announced that the Virginia Center for Excellence in Teaching will open in June 2014 on the campus of George Mason University in Fairfax County. The center — which the governor proposed as part of his 2013 All Students K-12 legislative agenda — will provide professional development opportunities in instruction, education policy and leadership for 100 exemplary teachers annually.

“By establishing the Virginia Center for Excellence in Teaching, we continue to elevate the teaching profession and send a message that there is no higher calling than inspiring, mentoring and preparing young people for the future,” said Governor McDonnell. “The center will set a new standard for excellence in classroom instruction and prepare teachers for leadership within their fields and beyond.”

The Virginia Center for Excellence in Teaching will conduct four five-day residential summer academies in 2014 with each academy enrolling 25 teachers. Two academies in June will focus on the STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) and the humanities and language arts. Academies in July will focus on the fine arts and interdisciplinary studies.   

“Public education is dynamic and rapidly changing field,” Superintendent of Public Instruction Patricia I. Wright said. “The Virginia Center for Excellence in Teaching will equip teachers to be leaders in local, state and national conversations about policy and practice.”

Each academy will have two George Mason faculty instructors, as well as guest speakers from Mason, local school divisions and the education policy community. Each participating teacher will earn five graduate credit hours, with three credits earned in the summer during the academy and two credits earned through online learning and a conference during the following school year.

Mason is developing an outreach campaign to identify qualified teachers for the center. Participants must hold a five-year renewable Virginia license, be employed by a Virginia school division, have a minimum of five years of successful teaching experience, and have a consistent record of effective instruction and demonstrated leadership ability.

“There are outstanding teachers in every region of the Commonwealth who could benefit from the challenging programs the Virginia Center for Excellence in Teaching will offer,” Mason President Ángel Cabrera said. “In selecting the participants, we will seek out teachers in every grade level and discipline, and in schools fully representative of Virginia’s urban, rural and suburban communities.”

In approving McDonnell’s proposal, the 2013 General Assembly authorized $220,000 to establish the Virginia Center for Excellence in Teaching and directed the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) to solicit competitive proposals from state colleges and universities to create and operate the center. This month, VDOE awarded the contract to Mason.

“We are delighted to have this opportunity to build upon Mason’s expertise in educator preparation to support teachers from throughout the state,” said Mark R. Ginsberg, dean of the College of Education and Human Development. “By developing teachers’ capacity for leadership within their classrooms, schools, and communities, this center will empower teachers to work towards our shared goals of promoting effective instruction and excellence in public education."

Elizabeth Sturtevant will serve as director of the Virginia Center for Excellence in Teaching. Sturtevant currently heads Mason’s Division of Elementary, Literacy and Secondary Education and teaches courses in literacy education and teacher leadership.

To learn more about the Virginia Center for Excellence in Teaching, email to be added to the interest list.
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