Leading Educators

Kelvey Oeser Joins Leading Educators as First Chief of Networks

January 28, 2019

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KELVEY OESER JOINS LEADING EDUCATORS AS FIRST CHIEF OF NETWORKS

Oeser has led the design of teacher development opportunities for thousands of educators nationwide

AUSTIN, TX - January 28, 2019

Kelvey Oeser, who has led large scale improvements in supports for teachers over the past decade, joins Leading Educators as the organization’s first Chief of Networks this month.

Oeser brings a rich body of experience in supporting school systems to improve educational equity at scale.  Most recently, she was a Partner on the client team at TNTP where she led the redesign of the “Fast Start” teacher training approach as well as significant expansion efforts across the state of Texas.  She managed successful programmatic efforts including the Arizona Teaching Fellows program, several partnerships with large urban school districts to develop and execute district-based early career teacher training programs, and instructional improvements within Raise Your Hand Texas’s “Raising Blended Learners” districts.  As Chief of Networks, Oeser will oversee a growing portfolio of professional learning networks that currently reach four cities.           

Leading Educators partnerships aim to counter within-school opportunity gaps by providing districts and school systems with customized, multi-year approaches for scaling job-embedded professional learning.  This professional learning model equips teams of content-alike teacher leaders to plan and facilitate rigorous weekly learning grounded in quality curricula for peer teachers. The organization’s three networks currently serve approximately 67,400 students and 2,800 educators in Greater Chicago, Greater Grand Rapids, New Orleans, and Tulsa.  

“We feel fortunate to learn from Kelvey’s incredible experiences across Texas and her expertise in teacher development.  Kelvey brings so much wisdom and a fresh lens to our efforts to develop deeply contextualized options for expanding instructional learning and opportunity across districts.  We are thrilled to have her on our senior leadership team as a strategic partner, and we know she will be a critical partner to system leaders as they work to provide every child with great teaching every day,” Leading Educators President Amy Rome shared.

Throughout her career, Oeser has worked closely with a diverse community of educators to improve opportunities for student and teacher growth.  A graduate of Emory University, Loyola Marymount University, and the University of Texas at Austin, she began her career as a middle school English teacher in East Los Angeles. Later, she worked for the Texas Education Agency where she supported the launch of 35 STEM-focused high schools and managed several grant programs focused on redesigning high schools to better serve low-income communities. Then, at Teach for America, Oeser led a team of designers who created leadership and staff development opportunities for 550+ full-time instructional staff members and 800+ part-time instructional staff members serving TFA’s regions and summer institutes across the country.

“I am looking forward to taking on this new challenge of leading the strategy and implementation of Leading Educators’ programmatic partnerships with districts.  I feel so grateful for the opportunity to join an organization filled with such diverse, talented, experienced, and mission-driven leaders who are focused on achieving more equitable outcomes for students,” said Oeser about the work ahead.

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About Leading Educators

Leading Educators is reinventing professional development for teachers, igniting the potential for exponential impact in schools and across districts.  We partner with states, districts, and public charter networks to design training and support structures that improve the conditions for continuous growth across their schools--helping teachers reach better, more equitable student outcomes.  www.leadingeducators.org

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School: FirstLine Schools

Hometown: My early years were in Severna Park, Maryland. Then my high school years were in Brooklyn, New York.

What made you want to become a teacher?

I was a psychology major in college (at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota) and as junior and senior, I had an internship as a Developmental Therapist with autistic preschoolers. I loved it and completely grooved on it and thought "I want to do this for the rest of my life." I talked with my program, and they said I had to go into the public schools to do that. So I had various teacher aides positions in public schools and then when I moved to New Orleans...I did a program called Pathways to Teaching at Tulane where I took classes and taught in New Orleans public schools. Now I've been teaching for over 20 years since.

What brought you to your current position as Athletic Director?

I taught 4th grade, 6th grade, gifted resource, and 2nd grade. And I figured out that I was so busy that I was never able to exercise. To feel good, I need to exercise. So I thought, how can I make exercise part of my job? I have to be a PE teacher! So I went back to UNO and got my Master's Degree in PE and Health in 2005. And since then, I've been teaching PE and then became an athletic director.

Can you explain your inspiration for your CPL and Impact Initiative?

When I was a fourth-grade teacher, I was at a brainstorming session around what can we do to improve test scores. Well, my fourth graders were having a hard time sitting still, and I thought if we had an intense physical activity portion at the start of the day, my test scores would improve. I was laughed out of the room. I read a book called "Spark" after that. The first part was how in Illinois, a heavy fitness program at the beginning of the school day really advanced test scores in a huge way. When I read this in the book, I thought "That's what I was saying!" Later, when I was pushed to doing the Impact Initiative (with Leading Educators), I thought this was something I really believed in - if we can get kids to be more physically active that their academics will improve. So that is what I am trying to do, with all my PE teachers and specifically with kids who are really struggling, getting some of that exercise-induced focus back into the classroom.

What is one lesson you learned last year that you would share with a first year LE Fellow?

Make your Leading Educators time a priority. There will be a lot of pulls on your time and it would be easy to put LE stuff on the back burner, but it's equally as important if not more important than all the other stuff you have to do. It's a development of our craft that can really make significant strides with our students more so than other things we may be required to do.

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