July 9, 2013

E4E Outreach Directors Talk Back: Michelle Alpert

Interested in joining the E4E team? Apply here!

Michelle Alpert is an E4E Outreach Director.

Prior to E4E, Michelle taught at P.S. 1 in the South Bronx, New York and at the Gabriella Charter School in Echo Park, Los Angeles.

When I tell people that I work as an Outreach Director at Educators 4 Excellence, the next question is always, “What does that mean?”  After telling them that I recruit and engage teachers to be part of conversations that impact policy, the next response is usually something like:

“Well, of course teachers should be included in the conversations that impact policy decisions.  They are the ones who have to put those policies to action.”

This might seem obvious to some. Yet, even though I stressed to my students that it was up to them to seize the incredible opportunity that school provides, I couldn’t find opportunities to elevate my own voice as a teacher.

So, the first time I read through the E4E Declaration of Teachers’ Principals and Beliefs, I remember thinking, “Yes! There is finally an organization that believes in this!”

Providing an opportunity

Now, as an Outreach Director, I have the privilege of providing teachers with opportunities to elevate their voices – opportunities to learn, to network and to take meaningful action.

Several months ago, I had the pleasure of meeting middle school social studies teacher Sadaf after school in her classroom.  In my initial conversation with her, I immediately recognized that Sadaf would be a great fit for our Teacher Policy Team and encouraged her to apply.  

Once selected, Sadaf contributed tremendously to the Career Pathways Policy Team.  At the event where the recommendations were launched, Sadaf was even selected to present an overview of the white paper on creating career pathways for teachers. Sadaf has now become a pioneering School Captain in LA and has, in a short amount of time, emerged as a leader in our movement. 

Knowing that I was able to help Sadaf find opportunities to learn, engage and develop through Educators 4 Excellence has been incredibly exciting. 

Being a connector

Why do I like being an Outreach Director? I am a connector.

I have met so many teachers like Sadaf that work tirelessly each day to serve their students, and as a result have solutions to some of our most troubling and polarizing problems. They want to do what it takes to close the achievement gap that continues to persist.

I get to visit schools and help many teachers engage in solutions-oriented conversations for the first time. I see light bulbs go off when they realize that they have ideas that would be beneficial for our district.

I get to connect teachers to a space of solutions-oriented change, where their experience is valued, their profession is respected and their knowledge appreciated. And I’m motivated to keep connecting teachers, because when brilliant and brave teachers speak up, we can really help shape meaningful change for our students.

If you’re interested in providing teachers like Sadaf with opportunities to learn, to network and to take action, consider applying for a career at Educators 4 Excellence. 

With your help, we can push this movement further, reach more thoughtful teacher leaders, and make a real impact for all of our students.