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RALEIGH, NC (November 2, 2017) – The Public School Forum of North Carolina has tapped Joanna Schimizzi as Statewide Coordinator for its growing Beginning Teacher Leadership Network (BTLN). The BTLN expanded into three new counties this school year and now works with early-career teachers in six North Carolina counties: Cabarrus, Carteret, Mecklenburg, Onslow, Union and Wake. Schimizzi replaces former Public School Forum Program Director James Ford as BTLN leader.

“Joanna has been integral to the success of the Beginning Teacher Leadership Network as coordinator of our Mecklenburg County program,” said Keith Poston, president and executive director, Public School Forum of North Carolina. “Joanna is a dynamic teacher-leader, well-known and respected across North Carolina for her dedication to advancing teacher leadership and promoting teacher voice.”

Joanna Schimizzi is a National Board Certified Biology teacher and was recognized as a MeckEd Teacher of Excellence. She taught Biology and AP Biology in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools for more than 9 years before leaving the classroom to work from home and be with her son. Joanna currently collaborates with special education teachers across the state to teach Biology through the Occupational Course of Study (OCS) Program at the North Carolina Virtual Public School. Joanna is committed to public education and collaborates with organizations such as Hope Street Group and the North Carolina Association of Educators (NCAE) to include educator voice in policy discussions.

“Beginning teachers are filled with energy, new ideas and passion for students, but they can also be overwhelmed with the intricacies of being a classroom teacher,” said Schimizzi. “By providing beginning teachers with opportunities to collaborate with each other, they will find increased support to stay in the profession and their students will benefit from what teachers learn from each other.”

The BTLN takes a three-pronged approach to teacher leadership by focusing on the areas of education policy, cross-curricular collaboration and professional development. The focus on policy is unique among programs in North Carolina for beginning teachers. BTLN aims to produce teachers that are “empowered to lead and informed to change” in a new era of teaching.

“Helping beginning teachers engage with policymakers allows these professionals to learn more about how to influence the policies that impact their students and ensure that all educators have a voice in policy discussions,” Schimizzi said.

The BTLN is currently supported by the Biogen Foundation, Belk Foundation, ChildTrust Foundation and the John M. Belk Endowment.

There is no cost for teachers to participate and the program is open to any teacher in their first three years in the classroom. Interested teachers should visit https://www.ncforum.org/beginning-teacher-leadership-network/ to learn more and to sign up.

The Public School Forum of North Carolina leads the BTLN in line with its long, rich history of developing and leading programs that enable and empower teachers and education leaders, including the NC Teaching Fellows Program, the Education Policy Fellowship Program (EPFP), the Institute for Educational Policymakers, and the NC Center for Afterschool Programs (NC CAP).

About the Public School Forum of North Carolina

Since 1986, the Public School Forum of North Carolina has been an indispensable and nonpartisan champion of better schools and the most trusted source in the state for research and analysis on vital education issues. We bring together leaders from business, education and government to study education issues, develop ideas, seek consensus, and ultimately inform and shape education policy. We do that through research, policy work, innovative programs, advocacy, and continuing education for educators and policymakers. Follow us on Twitter @theNCForum and visit our website at http://www.ncforum.org/

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