May 18, 2018
By KEITH RYAN CARTWRIGHT
Rutherford County Schools
Heather Eskridge, a counselor at Walter Hill Elementary School, is one of 38 statewide educators chosen for the 2018-2019 class of the Tennessee Educator Fellowship.
The State Collaborative on Reforming Education — more commonly known as SCORE — made the announcement Thursday afternoon.
“It’s a great opportunity to meet with other educators, who are like-minded and want to have a positive impact on education,” Eskridge said.
This is the fifth year of the Tennessee Educator Fellowship.
It’s a yearlong program that helps teachers, school counselors and librarians learn about education policy and equips them to advocate for their students and their profession.
“I’m excited to stretch myself as an educator,” said Eskridge, who noted the diversity of the group. “It’s exciting to have other viewpoints at the table.”
In addition to traditional public and public magnet schools, this year’s group represents public charter and Montessori schools along with an alternative academy within a public school.
They represent 24 districts across Middle and West Tennessee and combine for 479 years of teaching experience. Eskridge, who has 20 years of experience, is one of eight educators selected with 20 or more years of experience.
“I think it’ll be a neat group just to strengthen all of us,” Eskridge said.
The group will convene four times — July, September, January and May — with regional opportunities throughout the fellowship.
Throughout the upcoming year, the fellows will learn through in-person and online seminars and will serve as liaisons between their colleagues, their communities and policymakers as Tennessee continues the work of improving and lifting academic achievement for all students, according to a release from SCORE.
A friend, Alice Brower, encouraged Eskridge to apply for the fellowship.
Brower was part of the fellowship last year and told Eskridge she had a positive experience with SCORE.
Brower is a counselor in Kingsport, Tennessee, and met Eskridge in 2017 when she came to Murfreesboro to learn more about “The Amazing Shake” program Eskridge implemented at Walter Hill.
“It’s been a fun friendship to share practices and encourage each other to stretch our programs,” said Eskridge, who added, “It was very exciting to hear that I was selected.”