Educators receive fellowships


Staff Writer

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Two teachers and one principal from Edgecombe County Public Schools have been selected to become Opportunity Culture Fellows for the coming year.

Casandra Cherry, a multi-classroom leader at Phillips Middle School; Amy Pearce, a multi-classroom leader at North Edgecombe High School, and Jenny O'Meara, principal of Phillips Middle School, have been selected for this honor.

They will help make up the fifth cohort of Opportunity Culture Fellows, which is composed of 10 Opportunity Culture multi-classroom leaders and five principals who have achieved strong results and been leaders in their schools and districts. This year’s fellows come from Arizona, Illinois and four North Carolina school districts, according to a press release from Chapel Hill-based Public Impact, which founded the national Opportunity Culture initiative now used in 28 sites in nine states. 

“Ms. Cherry, Mrs. Pearce and Ms. O'Meara have been leaders in Edgecombe County’s Opportunity Culture initiative since it began three years ago. They are outstanding educators who care deeply about the success of every child. We are thrilled that they will be partnering with our colleagues at Public Impact to share the positive effects that advanced teaching roles can have on student achievement and school culture,” said Erin Swanson, director of innovation for Edgecombe County Public Schools.

Fellows provide support to their cohort, take one another’s ideas back to their schools, write columns about their experiences and speak locally and nationally about their Opportunity Culture roles, the press release said.

“Every year, fellows lead in their classrooms and schools; the fellowship gives them an opportunity to lead and advocate for a stronger profession at a national level,” said Sharon Kebschull Barrett, vice president for editorial services and communications at Public Impact, who oversees the fellowship. “They lead us as well, pointing the way for Public Impact to continually improve Opportunity Culture for other educators.”

The national Opportunity Culture initiative extends the reach of excellent teachers and their teams to more students for more pay within the schools district’s recurring budgets.

According to the press release, research indicates that Multi-Classroom Leadership, the foundation of an Opportunity Culture, helps teams of teachers produce substantially higher student learning growth than in typical schools. Multi-classroom leaders lead a small teaching team, providing instructional guidance and frequent, on-the-job development, while continuing to teach part of the time.