In Hostile Climate for Teachers, 2011 KSTF Fellows Commit to
Careers in Math and Science Education
KSTF Awards Beginning High School Mathematics and Science Teachers
Five-Year Fellowships Valued Up to $150,000
Moorestown, NJ, June 6, 2011—At a time when education news headlines lead with layoffs and budget cuts, the 2011 Knowles Science Teaching Foundation (KSTF) Fellows are choosing to impact the future through teaching. Despite the increasingly negative rhetoric about teachers and education in the U.S., this group of high-achieving recent grads is bringing their passion for science and mathematics education into the nation’s high schools. In a highly competitive selection process, KSTF, an advocate for new teachers and the teaching profession, has awarded each of these thirty-six beginning teachers a fellowship in biology, mathematics or physical sciences valued at up to $150,000 over five years.
“KSTF Fellows are countering every negative public perception of teachers, including the naïve cliché of ‘those who can’t, teach,’” said Dr. Nicole Gillespie, Associate Director for Teaching Fellowships. “These are highly talented individuals who are committed to careers in math and science education for the long term. This program exists solely to support them and invest in their development as masterful teachers.”
The need for accomplished math and science teachers cuts across all states. A report published by the Business Higher Education Forum (BHEF) points to a projected national shortfall of more than 280,000 new mathematics and science teachers by 2015. The incoming KSTF Teaching Fellows, who will be entering classrooms in 14 states this fall, are aware of the challenges that lie ahead, yet undaunted and excited about their prospects.
2011 KSTF Physical Science Teaching Fellow Carissa Filice of Gilroy, California, believes that “teaching challenges my ability to be prepared, communicate, facilitate and motivate unique groups of individuals. It is multifaceted, exhausting and amazing.”
KSTF empowers its Fellows to think critically and creatively about the teaching of mathematics and science. Explicitly designed to meet the needs of beginning teachers from the onset of the credentialing process through the early years of their careers, the KSTF Fellowship includes professional and leadership development, teaching tools and materials, and access to a network of like-minded colleagues nationwide.
“Nearly half of all teachers leave the field within the first five years, and the most highly qualified are the most likely to leave,” said Dr. Gillespie. “KSTF is working to understand why this happens and what it would take to reverse the trend, particularly for high school math and science teachers. We believe that the key is developing teacher leaders and advancing the national dialogue about the complexity and challenge of the teaching profession.”
The 2011 KSTF Fellows are committed to reaching students from diverse backgrounds, with real-world approaches to teaching that make mathematics and science relevant to their students’ lives.
“I want to give my students the tools they need to become problem solvers, self-learners and self-thinkers,” said Andrea Charbonnel of Paramus, New Jersey, a 2011 Physical Science Teaching Fellow.
KSTF awarded its first four Teaching Fellowships in 2002. To date, there are 190 Teaching Fellows and alumni nationwide across 40 states. Since the program’s inception, KSTF Fellows have impacted more than 150,000 students.
2011 KSTF Fellows by the Numbers
- 8 Fellows have served as teaching volunteers in developing countries
- 9 Fellows plan to teach in a high needs urban or rural school
- 12 Fellows have conducted cutting-edge research in their disciplines
- 13 Fellows have worked with underprivileged youth
- 13 Fellows left another profession to pursue teaching