For years, Colorado teachers, like teachers across the nation, have expressed concerns that policy was done to them not with them (tap://www.nnstoy.org/). In Colorado that concern has been heard, and Dr. Katy Anthes, the state’s Commissioner of Education, is welcoming classroom teachers into an official advisory role.
Just announced by the Colorado Department of Education, Dr. Anthes has created the Teacher Cabinet. This Cabinet of 15 teachers will serve “as a sounding board for the implementation of state education policy and to brainstorm solutions for some of the challenges facing today’s educators.” Those challenges include closing the achievement gap, supporting low performing schools, and determining ways to welcome more people into the teaching profession.
The 15 teachers on the Cabinet will represent teachers from around the state: from small, medium and large districts and from rural, urban, and suburban settings.
Dr. Anthes explains her reasoning in a news release: “I believe teaching is in fact harder than rocket science, and as we grapple with some of our complex challenges, I want to tap into the best thinking from educators all over the state of Colorado.”
Dr. Anthes has worked at the Colorado Department of Education since 2011. As the Executive Director of Educator Effectiveness, she helped develop and roll out the state’s teacher effectiveness plan. She then was Chief of Staff; however, she resigned from that position and the Department in May, 2016. At that time, the Department was in a state of turmoil and quite a few high-ranking Department members tendered their resignations. As an indication of the turmoil, the Department had four different commissioners in less than a year.
Dr. Anthes withdrew her resignation a few days later when she was asked to serve as interim commissioner. Seven months later the label “interim” was dropped when she was named Commissioner of Education. Known as a consensus maker and praised for her commitment to diverse perspectives, Dr. Anthes is the first female commissioner since 1951.
Colorado teachers interested in applying to be on the Cabinet can find information at http://www.cde.state.co.us/cdecomm/teachercabinet.