RALEIGH, NC (July 7, 2015) – James E. Ford, 2014-2015 North Carolina Teacher of the Year, will join the Public School Forum this month as Program Director. At the Forum, he will lead a new statewide beginning teacher support and engagement program and play a key role in the Forum’s education policy work including new efforts to advance educational opportunities for all of North Carolina’s children. Ford will be based in Charlotte, NC.

“Over the past year, as he served our state as Teacher of the Year, James Ford distinguished himself as a powerful and authentic voice for North Carolina’s teachers and our public schools,” said Keith Poston, the Forum’s President and Executive Director. “In this new role, James will remain engaged with our schools, helping early-career teachers become better instructors in the classroom, and more effective leaders in their schools, communities and the state. In addition, James will help us develop an expanded focus on educational opportunity and equity, an area of growing importance as linkages between poverty and academic achievement become starker. I could not be more excited for James to join the Forum.”

The Public School Forum began piloting its Beginning Teacher Network program in Wake County this spring and will be announcing plans for statewide expansion soon, an effort Ford will lead. In addition, Ford will work as part of the Forum’s Policy and Programs team to advance a positive education policy agenda and to develop new initiatives focused on advancing educational opportunities across the state, building upon established best practices and promising innovations to improve our state’s chronically low-performing schools.

“The Forum has long been one of the strongest voices for public education in the state, with a proven track record of success,” said Ford. “Their credibility as an organization, both in research and programmatically, is a perfect match for my personal passions as an educator.” Ford continued, “This position is ultimately an extension of my work in the classroom, but one that allows me to build capacity for widespread change. This represents the next step in my career as I continue to develop a policy lens, empower teachers, and work for equity on behalf of all students in North Carolina. I am thrilled to be joining the Forum’s team.”

In addition to being selected as the 2014-15 North Carolina Teacher of the Year, Ford was recognized as Charlotte Magazine’s Charlottean of the Year, and the National Alliance of Black School Educators’ Teacher of the Year. Ford taught World History & Sociology at Garinger High School in Charlotte, NC starting in 2010. He began his teaching career in Rockford Public Schools in Rockford, Illinois. Ford earned a bachelor of science in mass communication from Illinois State University in 2003 and a master’s degree in teaching from Rockford University in 2009. Ford recently completed his certification in educational leadership from Wingate University. He is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.

Before deciding to become a teacher, Ford’s early career cemented his connection to children and youth. He worked as a truancy intervention specialist in high schools and director of a teen center that provided educational and after-school activities for youth at risk of dropping out of school. He considers his work to be his “life-calling” and has dedicated himself to serving his community through education. Ford is a husband, father, educator, activist, minister and musical artist.

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