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Teacher Fellowship Program

Our Teacher Certification Program: Interview with Genee’ Johnson 

Programming / April 1, 2024
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In every classroom, the presence of dedicated teachers is indispensable. Yet, to ensure our educational system thrives, we must first address the crucial requirements of our educators. That is why The Educator Academy started the teacher fellowship program which seeks to support and develop individuals in classrooms while they complete their teacher certification. We got the chance to sit down with Genee’ Johnson, Fellows Program Coordinator at The EA to get a deeper understanding as to why this program was necessary within the educational landscape. 

What is the Teacher Fellowship Program? 

Teacher Fellowship Program

The Teacher Fellowship is a 2-year program in which our participants receive their certification and develop as teachers in the classroom. Our residents and fellows begin their journey with the Educator Academy by attending Summer Institute together. This time together helps our future teachers build community and lasting relationships. In addition to the training during the summer, our fellows do an additional 2 weeks on their own, which is called summer intercession one Genee’ says, “We spend about two weeks prepping them and getting them ready to go into their classroom with lesson plans, with fully flushed out rules, routines and procedures, just making sure they’re comfortable to start the year.” From there,  fellows engage in training by attending methods classes weekly and monthly seminar sessions. During the school year, they are teaching in the classroom daily as teachers of record and receiving full-time pay from the school district they are teaching in. Some of the partner districts we work with include Hickman Mills and Kansas City Public School. 

By year two fellows are continuing their education and continue to receive support from EA coaching and teacher development events. Genee’ outlined how she supports the teachers as they navigate through this two-year program. “I support the teacher fellows first off through coursework.  So I am their sole instructor with their masters level certification classes. I give them timely feedback and direct instruction, and then I support them with the implementation of their coursework into their classrooms. [In addition] I go into their classroom on a weekly basis to coach them around certification requirements and around implementing what we’re learning in our coursework in real time so that they’re having best practices for students.”

What are the requirements and benefits of the teacher fellowship program? 

The fellowship is geared towards individuals with significant experience in the classroom. Additionally, the EA requires: 

    • Individuals must be a lead teacher as they earn their certification
    • Have a Bachelor’s Degree 
    • Teach in a partner school


The Teacher Fellowship represents a rigorous, accelerated program that demands unwavering commitment from its participants. Providing a firsthand glimpse into the program, Genee’ sheds light on the challenges faced by the fellows. “Some of the challenges that have surfaced thus far revolve around managing their workload,” she explains. “As full-time contracted teachers, they bear all the responsibilities of certified educators within their respective schools. Yet, they must also navigate the demands of postgraduate coursework. Balancing classroom responsibilities – from lesson planning to student engagement – alongside academic obligations requires good time management skills.”  

Can you talk about the barriers EA is trying to tackle? 

Despite its time-intensive nature, the benefits the program offers are both distinctive and immensely gratifying.  The Educator Academy prioritizes meeting our teachers where they are and providing them with support along the way. We understand that not every person is the same and so a diverse range of supports can help combat the barriers that our teachers face. “One of the ways we’ve been able to meet those challenges has been to adopt the calendar based on feedback given from fellows and take different teaching style approaches for the asynchronous classes to see what works for diverse learners.” 

Another benefit to our program is our adaptability with coaching approach.  “We have something in our coaching called choice supports, so we get to offer different types of support. On a weekly basis, I might not just observe; I might also come in and co-teach or help plan a lesson or help with aggregating their data. I  find different ways to support the fellows so they have a good mindset, conversations, time management, and organization.”  The fellows operate under a cohort model similar to the residency. This builds a community, accountability, and a safe space for our fellows to engage and grow together. 

In addition to having a cohort our fellows also benefit from the following: 

    • Expedited Runway 
    • Career Development
    • Support with Certification
    • Community of educators
    • Financial Support
    • Teacher Wellness Supports 
    • Weekly coaching sessions
    • A cooperating teacher, which is a veteran teacher in your building who supports with development toward certification
    • Support on coursework 
    • Mental health support groups 
    • Connecting with the residents during weekly methods classes


Make a difference in the classroom

We believe in making sure that you are a good fit and ensuring that we set you up for success now and in the future. “I think what we’re doing here with The Educator Academy [and the] fellowship program is groundbreaking in the Kansas City metropolitan area. We are the first to pilot a fellowship program and to pilot it really rooted in our models of cohort, community, and support for the teacher to make sure that we are training and building effective teachers.”  

We are currently accepting applications for our cohort 9 teacher fellows and if you know someone who has been on the fence or looking to get their teachers certification then our teacher fellowship might be for them. Share this blog with them have have them apply today

This blog has been transcribed from an interview with Genee’ Johnson, Fellows Program Coordinator with The Educator Academy. This has been formatted to fit a blog. All edits that have been made are for legibility purposes only.