Maui Teacher Selected to Advise Educators’ Union in DC

October 18, 2013, 1:49 PM HST · Updated October 25, 10:45 AM
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Maui High teacher Dani De Jesus will make three trips total to Washington, DC to advise the NEA and policy makers. Courtesy photo.

Maui High teacher Dani De Jesus will make three trips total to Washington, DC to advise the NEA and policy-makers. Courtesy photo.

By David Kvasnicka

A Maui teacher has been selected as one of 53 of the highest-performing educators in the country to advise the National Education Association and education policy-makers in the capital.

Teacher Dani De Jesus of Maui High School was flown to Washington, DC on Oct. 11 to 12 in the first of a series of trips.

The purpose of the meetings, said the union and non-profit Teach Plus in a joint press release, are to put the best educators together in one place to come up with new ideas on improving education standards and retaining teachers.

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According to De Jesus, the 53 selectees were divided into smaller groups, each tasked with producing a white paper on topics selected by the educators. De Jesus’ group’s white paper topic is “Furthering the Profession on a Local Level” and is currently being developed collaboratively.

De Jesus said that the selection process was handled via application involving references, essays and a telephone interview.

“From what I understand, it was a highly selective application process, and everyone I met was extremely accomplished, involved, and passionate, so I’m honored to be a part of such a great group of educators and social justice advocates.”

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She also indicated that she appeared to be the only representative from Hawai`i, and had traveled the furthest.

The next trip to Washington, DC for De Jesus will be Jan. 24 to 25, 2014.

The groups’ white papers are to be presented to the union’s leadership in May 23 to 24, 2014, according to De Jesus.

“I’m extremely passionate about student achievement, and at the heart of that is teacher excellence. Our students deserve nothing less than excellent teachers, and I feel very proud to be a part of something that pursues this,” she said.

The effort to form a “selective fellowship” is a collaboration by Teach Plus, a non-profit that seeks to improve outcomes for urban children, and the National Education Association, which claims to be the largest professional employee organization in the US with 3 million teachers and faculty.

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