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Virginia Center for Excellence in Teaching to be located at George Mason University

The Virginia Center for Excellence in Teaching will open next June on the campus of George Mason University’s main campus in Fairfax, according to a news release from Gov. Bob McDonnell.

The center, proposed as part of the governor’s 2013 All Students K-12 legislative agenda, will provide professional development opportunities in instruction, education policy and leadership for 100 exemplary teachers each year, the news release said.

In approving McDonnell’s proposal, the 2013 General Assembly authorized $220,000 to establish the center and directed the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) to solicit competitive proposals from state colleges and universities to create and operate the center. Earlier this month month, VDOE awarded the contract to Mason.

Governor McDonnell was quoted as saying, “The center will set a new standard for excellence in classroom instruction and prepare teachers for leadership within their fields and beyond.”

It will also highlight the high calling of those who inspire, mentor and prepare young people for the future, the governor said.

Plans are that the Virginia Center for Excellence in Teaching will conduct four five-day residential summer academies in 2014 with 25 teachers at each academy.

According to the news release, GMU is developing an outreach campaign to identify qualified teachers to attend the academies. Participants must hold a five-year renewable Virginia license, be employed by a Virginia school division, have a minimum of five years of successful teaching experience and a consistent record of effective instruction and demonstrated leadership ability.

Two academies in June will focus on the STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) and the humanities and language arts.

Academies in July will focus on the fine arts and interdisciplinary studies. 

Patricia I. Wright, Virginia’s Superintendent of Public Instruction, was quoted as saying that the new teaching excellence center “will equip teachers to be leaders in local, state and national conversations about policy and practice.”

Each academy will have two GMU faculty instructors, as well as guest speakers. Each participating teacher will earn five graduate credit hours, with three credits during the academy and two credits through online learning and a conference during the following school year.

GMU president Ángel Cabrera was quoted as saying. “In selecting the participants, we will seek out teachers in every grade level and discipline, and in schools fully representative of Virginia’s urban, rural and suburban communities.”

Elizabeth Sturtevant will direct the center. Sturtevant now heads GMU’s Division of Elementary, Literacy and Secondary Education and teaches courses in literacy education and teacher leadership.

To learn more about the Virginia Center for Excellence in Teaching, email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) to be added to the interest list.

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