Across my twenty years of working in literacy, there has been a common factor activating significant progress: NCTE members. Content development partnerships and relationships with NCTE members have always guided my work, improved ideas, and developed breakthrough opportunities to truly engage students in language, reading, and writing. I’m pleased to be launching work that takes these previous elements to a whole new level—in an initiative specifically designed to tap NCTE and its power of collegial conversation and molding professional practice in new ways. This is transformational progress—and NCTE’s members are at the heart.
A picture from this week at a workshop with the new
NCTE Lead Ambassadors in Chicago, IL.
As most of you know, in 2016 we began the process of rebranding NCTE, which involved having many conversations with our members. The rebrand process was exhaustive in terms of member involvement. We wanted to ensure that the new NCTE reflected the spirit of those within our fold. From those conversations, we discovered there was a deep desire for more connection, not only with NCTE as an organization, but amongst members. New teachers, new members, and even some longtime members expressed an interest in becoming involved and immersed in all NCTE has to offer, but many said they just weren’t quite sure where or how to begin.
Armed with this insight, we embarked on a journey to create a program that would set our members up for success by helping them find the right path to make NCTE their professional home. We recognized our members as our greatest asset, so we knew their engagement would have to be at the center of this process. We wanted to build something that would bring them together in a meaningful way. The new NCTE Lead Ambassador program is an outgrowth of this commitment. Lead Ambassadors will develop new activities and approaches to onboard members and serve in a support role to their learning as they come to know NCTE as a place where they belong.
In April of this year, NCTE released a public call for Lead Ambassador applications. We were moved by the passion of the candidates who applied, and we knew that selecting just eight—two for each section—would be a difficult decision. After video interviewing each of our top candidates, we selected the first cohort of NCTE Lead Ambassadors. This diverse group of educators represents all member levels and different teaching backgrounds. They hail from a variety of locations, each bringing unique perspective and experience to the table.
This group is filled with new energy and new ideas that will serve as leading voices within NCTE over the next year. We need to be a generative organization offering an on-ramp for new members and voices to contribute to the profession and the professional home.
Each of the new Lead Ambassadors will take on the responsibility of connecting with members, on- and offline—through events, new member welcome sessions, and much more. This is just a starting point of something we believe will grow bigger and better than we ever could have imagined.
We’ll be introducing each Lead Ambassador over the next few weeks, so follow us on social. With their combined passion, enthusiasm, and energy, we’re excited to see where they take things from here. We hope you’ll follow along to find out.
Interested in becoming a Lead Ambassador? Keep an eye on village.ncte.org. We’re hoping to add new ambassadors in the future. In the meantime, I’d like to invite you to add your voice now by sharing your story at the NCTE Village.