Monday, June 5, 2023

UM Graduates Chosen for Leadership Conference

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LEE workshops provide organizational and civic engagement skills to Teach For America employees

OXFORD, Miss. – Two University of Mississippi graduates who work for Teach For America have been chosen to attend the Leadership for Educational Equity, or LEE, National Organizing Workshop Conference this month in Charlotte, N.C.

Caleb Herod and Mary Alex Street attended sessions last weekend at the conference and return to finish up this weekend (Oct. 18-20).

After meeting with participants of last year’s LEE program, Herod and Street were encouraged to apply for this year’s conference.

“Ole Miss grads should be leading the charge of organizing people in our own state around issues like education,” Street said. “Caleb and I both hope that this conference will shine some light on the best way to inform and empower people in Mississippi.”

The conference provides an opportunity to explore the policy side of the Teach For America program. Even though policy isn’t a common topic in the classroom, it is important for teachers to be aware of the policies in place throughout the state’s school districts.

Herod and Street will be able to learn how other communities use the Teach For America experiences to improve their school systems.

“I’m excited for the conference,” Herod said. “What I’ve found out over the past two years of my TFA experience is how much I want to help other people see my state and my communities as a land of opportunity. I think this conference will prepare me to work toward this goal and share this message.”

One frustration is that the policies are not implemented correctly in the communities, Street said.

“Policymakers in Jackson and D.C. may write some theoretically beautiful piece of legislation that ends up completely missing its target because there aren’t the means to carry it out correctly once it reaches our state, community and schools,” Street said.
“I want to see all the talent and capability we have used to better the lives of everyone here, but most of all, I want to see the next generation have the best opportunity to succeed imaginable,” Herod said.

Elizabeth Burgreen, Ole Miss News Desk