Tommy Chang shares his story as a six-year-old immigrant student in America, catalyzing a lifelong relationship with public education. As a teacher, a principal, a district leader, and now CEO of New Teacher Center, Tommy is driven by his personal journey and deep understanding that authentic relationships rooted in equity are critical to enable everyone in the school community, and beyond, to thrive.
New Teacher Center (NTC) was awarded a $150,000 grant to support student- and equity-centered instructional coaching to empower educators served by the Niswonger Foundation.
The Niswonger Foundation was established in 2001 to make a positive and sustainable difference in education in Northeast Tennessee. The grant from the State Collaborative on Reforming Education (SCORE) will support a partnership between the Niswonger Foundation and NTC to advance educational equity in pursuit of our shared vision for inclusive and thriving school communities.
“We are deeply grateful for the opportunity to partner with New Teacher Center, and to have the support of SCORE in ensuring the success of this important work,” said Nancy Dishner, President and CEO of the Niswonger Foundation. “NTC’s mission of empowering children through education aligns beautifully with the mission of the Niswonger Foundation. Both organizations value creating opportunities for personal growth and helping children to see the brightest of futures.”
NTC’s partnership with the Niswonger Foundation began in 2020 to support 60 instructional coaches across 34 rural schools in 10 northeast Tennessee counties. Our coaching model empowers teachers to align standards with Optimal Learning Environments — where teachers’ instructional design and practice knit equity, academic, and social-emotional growth to meet learners’ needs. To do this, we align students’ instructional needs to job-embedded professional learning opportunities for educators. Over five years, we’ll collaborate to increase the teaching practice of 1,724 teachers and outcomes for 25,702 students (grades 4-9) in English-Language Arts, mathematics, and science.
“NTC is excited about this new partnership with The Niswonger Foundation,” said Atyani Howard and Arthur Mills IV, interim co-chief executive officers of New Teacher Center. “This investment by SCORE will help ensure that students in rural Tennessee have access to strong instruction that addresses the needs of every learner with ever-present attention to continuous academic and social-emotional growth.”
NTC continues to invest in supporting educators to create student- and equity-centered instruction that is rigorous, inclusive, and unlocks opportunity for all.
About the Niswonger Foundation
The Niswonger Foundation was established in 2001 to make a positive and sustainable difference in education in Northeast Tennessee. In fall 2019, the Niswonger Consortium of School Systems in Northeast Tennessee (TN Consortium) was among four districts to be selected to partner with New Teacher Center (NTC) to implement a high-quality, standards-aligned instructional coaching (IC) program made possible by a $12.8 million grant from the Department of Education’s Education, Innovation and Research (EIR) Expansion program received by the New Teacher Center.
The State Collaborative on Reforming Education (SCORE) believes all Tennessee students deserve success in college, career, and life. SCORE supports a unified and coordinated approach to education – from kindergarten through postsecondary – focused on helping all students complete high school and postsecondary education, earning the diplomas and credentials needed for a rewarding career. An independent, nonprofit, and nonpartisan advocacy and research institution, SCORE was founded in 2009 by Senator Bill Frist, MD, former US Senate Majority Leader. SCORE measures success by the academic growth and achievement of Tennessee’s students. Learn more at tnscore.org.
About New Teacher Center:
For over 20 years, New Teacher Center (NTC) has pushed on what’s possible in professional learning. A national nonprofit leader with a legacy of results, NTC supports educators by combining the science of teaching with deep connections to students, so teachers can grow their craft and create thriving, rigorous, and inclusive classrooms. Where every young person feels seen, connected, and challenged to succeed academically, and student-teacher trust is unshakable. Its unique coaching model spans and balances educational ecosystems to build cultures of higher-quality learning, increased teacher retention, and better student outcomes. Today, NTC’s dedicated staff members serve nearly two million students and more than 25,000 teachers in 22 states and over 400 school districts.
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This week, NTC staff will take a much-needed pause. The journey to meet our mission requires time away to collect ourselves, and connect with gratitude for the ordinary and extraordinary. Our work is fulfilling and demanding, and along the way, that tug of urgency often pulls us away from the other things that give us light, love, joy, and life.
The board is confident in Tommy’s abilities to stand on the shoulders of those who have stood before him and continue to advance the organization’s work to disrupt the predictability of educational inequities for systemically underserved students by accelerating educator effectiveness.