RALEIGH — Ashe County Middle School teacher Danny Eldreth was recently selected to be a member of the 2021-22 NC Teacher Leadership Council. He is one of 30 teachers in the state that were chosen for this opportunity to engage with other teacher leaders, provide input and feedback on initiatives affecting education and explore the variety of ways educators are leading in North Carolina.

Teachers were selected through their recognition as educational leaders at the school, district, region and/or other partnership. Participation in the council allows teachers the opportunity to represent students, colleagues, schools and communities on a larger state platform.

The council’s 30 teacher members, who will meet monthly, will serve as an advisory board for the agency as well as a key communications conduit for educators in schools across the state. NC Superintendent of Public Instruction Catherine Truitt and Special Advisor on Teacher Engagement Julie Pittman shared the news about new Leadership Council members to state superintendents and school principals the week of Nov. 8.

The council consists of representatives from the state’s eight educational regions, as well as charter schools. The goal in the council’s membership is to ensure diverse geographical participation, as the challenges teachers face are often unique to their location and community. Members are also selected based on subject area, grade level and number of years in the classroom to ensure broad representation.

The council is co-chaired by Pittman and 2020 Burroughs Wellcome North Carolina Teacher of the Year, Maureen Stover, and supported by the 2021 winner, Eugenia Floyd.

“Convening this Teacher Leadership Council is an important way to stay in tune with the needs of those in the field through direct lines of communication,” Truitt said. “This group of leaders allows for the department to better understand and support educators, while providing an opportunity to engage directly with them on the challenges they face and how we can overcome them together.”

Monthly meetings will cover teacher leadership opportunities and discussion will be centered around ongoing initiatives, current events and challenges facing educators. With participation by Truitt, council members will have the opportunity to provide feedback before closing with general questions and concerns. Meetings will be conducted both virtually and in-person.

The Teacher Leadership Council held its first meeting earlier this month.

Eldreth has been teaching for more than 20 years and is a national board-certified teacher. He has spent his full-time teaching career with Ashe County Schools at ACMS, where he has taught every core subject except 8th grade social studies. Currently, he teaches 7th grade math and science classes. Eldreth’s bulletin board speaks volumes about his attitude toward his middle school students.”It Matters That You Are Here.” Eldreth demonstrates these words as he strives to treat all his students with kindness and respect.

Eldreth shared what his experience has been like so far as a member of the council.

“The Teacher Leadership Council strives to stay abreast of what it’s like for practicing educators in today’s classrooms, desires to receive feedback from teachers participating on the council concerning educational issues, and asks us (the members) to serve as a conduit on social media to spread the word about educational issues,” Eldreth said. “As a member of the council, I receive professional development credit. I have the chance to listen and learn from guest speakers invited to council meetings. For example, I recently had the chance to listen to Ms. Alexis Schauss, CFO for the North Carolina Department of Instruction. Ms. Schauss provided information regarding funding, and she participated in a question/answer session with those of us in attendance to the meeting. It is very interesting to hear from teachers across the state as we navigate a post-COVID teaching experience.”

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