SARASOTA, FL – Hershorin Schiff Community Day School teachers Barbara O’Brien and Deanna Ferguson have been selected to participate in the third cohort of the Legacy Heritage Teacher Leader Fellowship at Brandeis University. This summer, from July 3-20, they will begin their coursework at Brandeis, continue the program online, and attend a second summer session and conclude the effort back at Brandeis in July 2018.
The Teacher Leader Fellowship is a unique educational opportunity for exceptional educators at Jewish day schools who want to become effective teacher leaders without having to give up classroom teaching. Fellows will join talented and experienced teachers from a variety of school settings in a 13-month course of study. The program prepares participants to create change in their schools by improving teaching practices and fostering a collaborative culture that leads to greater student and educator learning. All costs – including the room and board at Brandeis during both summer sessions – are covered through the Fellowship.
With 25 total years of teaching experience, O’Brien has been a teacher at Community Day School for 14 of those years. Currently, she teaches all second grade general subjects, such as language arts, math, science, and social studies, and fourth-grade math. She is enthusiastic about the project-based, hands-on, Reggio-inspired curriculum at the school.
“Community Day is special in so many ways, but to me we stand out because we allow students to truly have a say in their education,” O’Brien said. “I especially love the relationships between the students, families, and teachers.”
O’Brien earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from Stonehill College. She also has her certification in the Reggio Emilia and Montessori educational philosophies. Prior to Community Day, she spent time teaching and learning different education styles. She spent three years at a Montessori school and then had the privilege of being an assistant principal at a Reggio-based school. She has also taught for Head Start, the YWCA, and in the public schools.
Ferguson, who teaches middle school social studies and humanities, has 10 years’ combined teaching experience, with seven years at Community Day School and three years at Selby Gardens, where she developed curriculum and managed its school and family programming. She earned her Master of Arts in Teaching with TESOL endorsement from the University of South Florida and her Bachelor of Arts from Houghton College in New York.
She is most looking forward to connecting with and learning from each of the program’s diverse Teacher Leader cohorts, noting, “I’m excited about the program’s collaborative culture, which combines pedagogy and practical application allowing us to be catalysts of continued positive change in our schools and communities.”
“Barbara and Deanna’s service at our school has been remarkable and made a huge impact on many young lives,” said Dan Ceaser, Community Day head of school. “We are grateful for the opportunity for them to be trained as Teacher Leaders and are excited for them to be able to use that training to better the school. I look forward to seeing how this experience will impact them – and how they will pass along their new-found knowledge and experience in the classroom and to colleagues in our school and throughout the community.”
For more information about Community Day, go to communityday.org or call (941) 552-2770.
About Hershorin Schiff Community Day School
The mission of the Hershorin Schiff Community Day School, which serves students in preschool through eighth grade, is to impact the world by creating a community where children of all faiths demonstrate integrity, academic excellence, and a desire to improve the world. Community Day offers a rigorous, project-based academic program in a diverse and vibrant learning environment rooted in the Jewish values of honesty, integrity, mutual trust and respect. For more information, visit the website at communityday.org or call (941) 552-2770.