Panelists Announced- American Teacher Screening 12/14/11

We are excited to announce the panelists that will take part in our post-screening discussion of American Teacher on December 14th.  The panelists include:

  • Melanie Adams– Managing Director of Community Education and Events, Missouri History Museum & Special Administrative Board SLPS
  • Kelly Garrett– Executive Director, KIPP St. Louis
  • Dr. Minnie Phillips– Retired English Teacher, Webster Groves
See below for their full bios.
If you haven’t registered for this FREE event yet we urge you to register soon as space is filling up quickly.  This event is taking place at the Missouri History Museum on December 14th at 2:30 PM. Click here to register now.

The Gateway Center for Giving and the Missouri History Museum are partnering with The Teacher Salary Project and Microsoft Partners in Learning to present a screening of American Teacher. It is a documentary that gives a definitive look at the state of teaching in America that offers a solution to the education crisis.

Please contact Lindsey Greenberg at lindsey@centerforgiving.org with any questions or concerns. 

About the Panelists
Melanie Adams
Ms. Melanie Adams is the Managing Director of Community Education and Events for the Missouri History Museum and Historical Society.  She oversees the Museum’s community and education programs, and serves on the advisory team to the Museum President.  In her position she reports directly to the Museum President.

Ms. Adams has been deeply committed to being a leader in civic and community organizations.  Upon relocating to Saint Louis, she immediately got involved in community activities.  She was a founding member and President of Metropolis St. Louis, and has served on a variety of boards in the region including Americorps St. Louis The St. Louis Public Schools Foundation, and the FOCUS St. Louis board.  Based on her strong leadership skills, she was selected to participate in both the CORO Women in Leadership program and the FOCUS St. Louis Leadership class.  Through these prestigious programs she learned about the St. Louis community and obtained skills in how to get people actively involved in the solution process.  She currently serves on the Black Leadership Roundtable, the St. Louis Community College Foundation board, and the Washington University Women’s Society board.

In June 2007 Ms. Adams was appointed to the Special Administrative Board for the St. Louis Public Schools.  In this role Ms. Adams works with two other board members and the superintendent to improve the public schools and provide a quality education for city students.

Melanie Adams earned her undergraduate degree in English/African American studies from the University of Virginia and her M.Ed. from the University of Vermont.

Kelly Garrett
Kelly Garrett was named Executive Director of KIPP St. Louis in August of 2011.  He came to KIPP St. Louis from The Rainwater Charitable Foundation where he served as Executive Director from 2009-2011. During Garrett’s six-year tenure at Rainwater, the Foundation’s annual giving grew by a factor of ten, and Garrett helped lead a strategic initiative focusing on school leadership and early childhood education, and guided the Foundation’s work based on priorities of Richard Rainwater, Texas investor and Foundation benefactor.

Garrett’s professional career began as a 1992 Teach For America corps member in Houston. After gaining Texas teaching certification, Garrett co-founded Project Chrysalis Charter Middle School, which quickly became one the highest performing middle schools serving low income students in Texas. Garrett has also founded and managed a high quality early childhood development program and a virtual charter high school that now serves students in seven states around the country.  Garrett earned a BA in Religious Studies with a minor in International Studies from Rhodes College and a MBA from Harvard Business School and is an Aspen Institute-New Schools Fellow.  He lives in St. Louis with his wife and two sons.

Dr. Minnie Phillips
Dr. Minnie Phillips spent 40 years teaching English at Webster Groves High School, and two years at John Burroughs School, before retiring in 2010. She earned her undergraduate degree at the University of Missouri-Columbia and master and doctoral degrees in educational administration at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. She is a scholar and speaker on topics relating to educational biography, teacher education, student achievement, and public/private school administration. Time Magazine featured a day in her teaching life in October 1999, and she authored a centennial history of Webster Groves High School in 2007 titled 100 Selma…100 Years. She is currently a member of the adjunct faculty in the School of Education at Webster University and a tireless advocate for educational opportunity and teaching.

About the Movie
AMERICAN TEACHER is the feature-length documentary produced and directed by Academy Award-winning filmmaker Vanessa Roth; produced by Nínive Calegari, co-founder of the literacy non-profit 826 National, and best-selling author Dave Eggers; and narrated by Academy Award-winner Matt Damon.

AMERICAN TEACHER chronicles the stories of four teachers – Erik Benner, Jonathan Dearman, Jamie Fidler, and Rhena Jasey – who live and work in disparate urban and rural areas of the country. By following these teachers as they reach different milestones in their careers, the film tells the deeper story of the teaching profession in America today. The film shows us the experience of these four young teachers as they recognize the importance of what they do, and how much they love what they do, but ask: can I afford to continue to teach?

Undeniable research shows that a child’s school success depends on quality teaching. In the next ten years, more than half of the current 3.2 million teachers will be eligible to retire. We will then have a choice: continue with the current, broken system of trying to attract talented college graduates to the teaching profession by offering low pay, long hours, little support, and no prestige – a system that results in high turnover and low morale and translates into 85 percent of graduates refusing to even consider the profession. Or we change: increase compensation and improve conditions to attract the best college graduates who might otherwise go into law, finance, or other lucrative fields. With the best and the brightest in the profession, schools will get better.

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