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Local teachers chosen for leadership role, fellowships

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A former Roswell teacher has become the New Mexico policy director for a national non-profit educators organization, Teach Plus, and two teachers have been named to its fellowship program.

Hope Morales, previously a teacher on special assignment at Military Heights Elementary School, has accepted the position of state policy director for Teach Plus New Mexico.

She will lead the organization’s policy and teacher leadership work in the state, and will oversee the Teach Plus New Mexico Teaching Policy Fellowship program, which she participated in last year.

“As a Teach Plus Fellow, I had the opportunity to have real impact on our policies. I saw firsthand that when educators whose expertise stems from the classroom help shape education policy, students, teachers and parents in New Mexico benefit,” said Morales.

Morales taught for more than decade with the Roswell Independent School District. In 2015 and 2016, she was recognized as a Chaves County Teacher of Character. She also has served in leadership roles for state and district groups. She earned a bachelor’s degree in university studies and master’s degree in education administration from Eastern New Mexico University. She lives in Roswell with her husband and three children.

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In addition, Teach Plus announced that two Roswell teachers have been selected for its 2017-18 Teaching Policy Fellowship program.

Shari Hicks of Military Heights Elementary School and Dorinda Thompson of Berrendo Middle School will join 18 other New Mexico public school teachers in the second year of the program. They will advocate for policy changes affecting educators and students by working with elected officials and state education leaders. Last year’s participants negotiated with the New Mexico Public Education Department to change certain aspects of its teacher evaluation system.

Other issues that New Mexico fellows have worked on have included quality pre-kindergarten education, professional development for educators and teacher recruitment.

Teach Plus aims to have experienced educators assume leadership over key policy and practice issues that affect student success. Since its inception in August 2007, Teach Plus has grown to a network of more than 26,000 teachers across the country.