Design Fellows Named at Woodrow Wilson Academy of Teaching and Learning

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Woodrow Wilson Academy of Teaching and Learning Announces “Design Fellow” Class of Aspiring STEM Teachers

2017-18 WW Academy Class Will Help Finalize Groundbreaking Approach to Preparing Teachers to Succeed in Both Classrooms of Today and Tomorrow

CAMBRIDGE, MA (September 26, 2017) – As the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation and its Woodrow Wilson Academy of Teaching and Learning (WW Academy) refine a personalized, mastery-based model of teacher preparation, the WW Academy has welcomed its first students, called “Design Fellows.”

After spending the past year vetting its competencies for beginning teachers with experts and educators across the country, the WW Academy selected 10 individuals to serve as Design Fellows for the 2017–18 academic year. WW Academy Design Fellows will help develop the competency-based program, and test all curriculum, assessments, games, simulations, and other components developed by the WW Academy and MIT. The competencies are the basis of an interactive, challenge-based curriculum designed to ensure that prospective teachers can demonstrate both what they have learned and how they use it in a classroom setting.

“Through this groundbreaking approach to teacher preparation, WW Academy students will help change both teaching and learning for generations to come,” Woodrow Wilson Foundation Acting President Stephanie J. Hull said. “As aspiring educators, our Design Fellows bring the sort of design thinking, cognitive learning, and student-focused approaches we seek as we finalize our teacher preparation approach.”

The 2017–18 Design Fellow class includes:

  • Breauna Campbell (BA in engineering from Olin College)
  • Jason Heitler-Klevans (BA in physics from Oberlin College)
  • Doyung Lee (BS in engineering from Olin College)
  • Genevieve O’Connell (BA in neuroscience and behavior from Columbia University)
  • Mustafa Abdul-Rahim (BA in engineering, master’s in engineering management from Dartmouth University)
  • Lucinda Robinson (BA in mathematics from Carleton College)
  • Katarina Rolf (BA in biology from Carleton College)
  • Jane Strauch (BA in statistics from Yale University)
  • Xavier Tirado (BA in biology and sociology from Oberlin College)
  • Alexandra Trunnell (BA in physics and astronomy from Vassar College)

Full biographies of the WW Academy Design Fellows, along with additional information on the initiative, can be found at woodrowacademy.org/future-teachers/design-fellows/.

“In collaboration with MIT, the WW Academy is looking at new approaches to ensure generations of teachers prepared to improve today’s schools while building the schools of tomorrow,” Hull said. “These Design Fellows ensure that the teacher preparation program of the future is developed by aspiring teachers and reflects their interests, their aptitudes, and their approaches to teaching and learning.”

The WW Academy, with MIT, is reinventing teacher education for the 21st century. Teacher candidates progress through a problem-based, individualized, adaptive curriculum by mastering core teaching competencies. WW Academy students experience the challenge-based curriculum in a blended environment, including online and face-to-face learning. Candidates are also immersed in clinical settings in Boston-area public schools. Throughout their first two years of teaching they receive continued mentoring and professional development.

  • In 2015, the Woodrow Wilson Foundation revealed its plans to develop competency-based master’s degree programs in teaching and school leadership. Last year, the Woodrow Wilson Academy received informal approval from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to offer an initial, post-baccalaureate license for middle and secondary school teachers in biology, chemistry, and math. Applications for degree-granting approval and accreditation are in process.

The WW Academy’s efforts are built, in part, on the Woodrow Wilson Foundation’s ongoing efforts in teacher and education leader preparation. Currently, the Foundation partners with five states—Georgia, Indiana, Michigan, New Jersey, and Ohio—to offer the Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellowships. Working with 28 universities in those states, the WW Foundation is redesigning teacher education to center on a master’s degree program that integrates a yearlong clinical experience and three years of mentoring. The Foundation is also working in three states—Indiana, New Mexico, and Wisconsin—on the WW MBA in Education Leadership Fellowships, using a similar model to recruit and prepare the next generation of school and district leaders.

To date, the Amgen Foundation, Bezos Family Foundation, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Carnegie Corporation of New York, Nellie Mae Education Foundation, Simons Foundation, and several anonymous major donors have supported the development of the WW Academy.


About the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation
Founded in 1945, the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation (www.woodrow.org) identifies and develops the nation’s best minds to meet its most critical challenges. The Foundation supports its Fellows as the next generation of leaders shaping American society.

About the Woodrow Wilson Academy of Teaching and Learning
The Woodrow Wilson Academy of Teaching and Learning (www.woodrowacademy.org) seeks to transform teacher education by creating a model to prepare teachers and school leaders to succeed in the diverse classrooms of today and to shape and lead the schools of tomorrow.


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