Public School Teachers Named Yale National Fellows

Lead Development of Teachers Institutes for High-Poverty Schools

Fifty-five public school teachers from seventeen school districts in ten states and the District of Columbia have been chosen to participate in national seminars and an Intensive Session as part of the Yale National Initiative to strengthen teaching in public schools®.

Forty-one of the teachers, named Yale National Fellows, are from school districts that are planning or exploring the establishment of a new Teachers Institute for Chicago, IL; the District of Columbia; Pittsburgh, PA; Richmond, VA; San José, CA; Tulsa, OK; and Texas. Other National Fellows come from existing Teachers Institutes located on the Diné Nation, AZ and NM; and in New Castle County, DE; New Haven, CT; and Philadelphia, PA. Overall, more than half of the National Fellows are participating in national seminars for the first time.

The purposes of the seminars are to provide public school teachers deeper knowledge of the subjects they teach and first-hand experience with the Teachers Institute approach to high-quality professional development. This fosters their leadership in an existing Teachers Institute or prepares them to lead the development of a new Teachers Institute. Each teacher writes a curriculum unit to teach their students about the seminar subject and to share with other teachers in their school district and, through the website at, with teachers anywhere. The curriculum units implement academic standards of the teachers’ school districts and assist the teachers in engaging and educating the students in their school courses.

The 2020 seminars, which begin on May 1 and conclude in mid-August, are:

  • “American History through American Lives,” led by David C. Engerman, Leitner International Interdisciplinary Professor of History;
  • “Teaching about Race and Racism Across the Disciplines,” led by Daniel Martinez HoSang, Associate Professor of Ethnicity, Race, and Migration, and of American Studies;
  • “Solving Environmental Problems through Engineering,” led by Jordan Peccia, Thomas E. Golden, Jr. Professor of Environmental Engineering;
  • “Politics and Public Policy in the United States,” led by Ian Shapiro, Sterling Professor of Political Science; and
  • “Caretakers versus Exploiters: Impacting Biodiversity in the Age of Humans,” led by Paul E. Turner, Rachel Carson Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology.

Participants in the two-week Intensive Session in July will include not only the Yale National Fellows but also university faculty members who have led or may lead local Teachers Institute seminars at partner universities around the country. Between July 6 and 17, Fellows will attend daily seminar meetings and will confer individually with their seminar leader. Superintendents and other local school officials will accompany the National Fellows when they return for the Annual Conference at Yale on October 23-24.

National Fellows will serve as the Coordinator for each seminar. The Coordinators are: Carol P. Boynton of New Haven, Connecticut; Cristobal Carambo of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Valerie J. Schwarz of Richmond, Virginia; Vanessa Vitug of San José, California; and Krista B. Waldron of Tulsa, Oklahoma.

The Yale National Initiative to strengthen teaching in public schools, now in its sixteenth year, is a long-term endeavor to influence public policy on teacher professional development, in part by establishing exemplary Teachers Institutes for high-poverty, high-minority schools in states around the country. These Institutes follow the approach developed originally in New Haven and implemented now in other cities.

Teachers Institutes are educational partnerships between universities and school districts designed to strengthen teaching and learning in a community’s high-need public schools. Evaluations have shown that the Institute approach exemplifies the characteristics of high-quality teacher professional development, enhances teacher quality in ways known to improve student achievement, and encourages participants to remain in teaching in their schools.

Yale National Initiative®, Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute®, and League of Teachers Institutes® are registered trademarks of Yale University.