NNSTOY Teacher Candidate Fellowship

NNSTOY Teacher Candidate Fellowship

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About the NNSTOY Teacher Candidate Fellowship

The National Network of State Teachers of the Year organization has launched a one-year Fellowship to provide a select group of strong teacher candidates with access to the tools, training and opportunities they need to become educational leaders.

The NNSTOY Teacher Candidate Fellowship reflects NNSTOY’s commitment to helping our country recruit and retain outstanding teacher leaders who will elevate the profession and ensure that every student has access to a great teacher.


What NNSTOY Teacher Candidate Fellows do

In November 2016, 35 outstanding teacher candidates were selected for the inaugural cohort of the NNSTOY Teacher Candidate Fellowship.

Since then, they have met regularly with State Teachers of the Year and Finalists who recognize their professional strengths and help the Fellows garner new skills and support to be successful teachers who are prepared to elevate and transform the profession.

Over the year the Teacher Candidate Fellows will:

  • Participate in webinar discussions about important educational topics with State Teachers of the Year and Finalists.
  • Collaborate with one another through weekly engagement on a discussion forum (sponsored by the NEA).
  • Share and receive valuable educational resources.
  • Create a professional growth plan.
  • Earn a digital badge that reflects their growth.
  • Engage in blogging opportunities and make presentations with the NNSTOY community.

How the Fellows are selected

Outstanding teacher candidates are invited to apply after being nominated by a recognized teacher preparation program as a promising teacher candidate. The invitation process begins in September of each year.

2016-2017 NNSTOY Teacher Candidate Fellows

Anna Alexander

University of Georgia

Middle Grades, 4-8

Mathematics, Science, Social Studies, Special Education


Karyn Baldwin

Illinois State University

Bilingual-Bicultural Elementary Education, Grades K-9

All Subjects - Dual Language


Ashtyn Bittle

Shepherd University

Elementary Education, Grades K-6

All Subjects


Taylor Bowling

Ohio University

Early Childhood Education: Age 3-3rd grade)



Carissa Corkins

Kansas State University

Early Childhood Education, Birth-Age 8

Unified: General and Special Education


Madison Corlett

University of Connecticut

Elementary Grades, K-6

All Subjects


Matthew DeBellis

SUNY Plattsburgh

Adolescent Education



Maria Enrique

University of Connecticut

Secondary Education, Grades 7-12



Brenda Gutierrez

Marian University Indianapolis

P-6 Mild Intervention Special Needs

Elementary Education, Grades K-6


Erin Hutchinson

Mount Holyoke College

Secondary Education,  Grades 8-12



Daniel Jackson

Illinois State University

Elementary Education

English Language Endorsement


Symone James

University of Connecticut

Elementary Education, Grades K-6

All Subjects


Kylara Johnson

University of Wisconsin-Platteville

Middle Grades, 5-8

All subjects


Emma Kelly

SUNY Plattsburgh

Secondary Education

English Language Arts


Elizabeth McDowell

University of North Carolina at Charlotte

Elementary and Special Education  

All Subjects


Erica Rigby

Tufts University

High School, Grades 9-12



Rebekka Rood

Illinois State University

Elementary Education,  Grades K-6

All Subjects


Jillian Sacchetta

Lafayette College

Grades K-12



Caroline Shelton

Mount Holyoke College

Elementary, Grades 1-5

All Subjects


Tatyana Sheppard

Eastern Illinois University

Elementary Education, Grades K-9

Middle School Endorsements in English, Social Studies, and Science


Erica Shover

Ohio University

Early Childhood Education, Grades PreK-3

All Subjects


Kathryn Speck

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Primary Grades, K-3

English Language Arts, Math, Science, Social Studies


Jessica Stargardter

University of Connecticut

Elementary Education,  Grades K-6

All Subjects


LaShawna Thompson

University of Connecticut

Elementary Education, Grades K-6

All Subjects


Natalie Varkey

University of Georgia

History and Social Studies Education, Grades 6-12



Meghan Vinson

Eastern Illinois University

Elementary Education, Grades 1-6

All Subjects


Zachary Ward

Georgia Southwestern State University

Early Childhood Education, Grades PreK-5

ESOL (English as a Second Language) Endorsement


Sania Zaffar

Loyola University Chicago

Special Education, K-12

Elementary Education, Grades 1-6

Reading and ESL Endorsement


Fellows not shown:

Adrian Herera

Abigail Morgan

Juan Soriano

Peter Wilkinson


Program Leaders

Jemelleh Coes

NNSTOY Teacher Candidate Fellowship Facilitator

Jemelleh Coes is the 2014 Georgia State Teacher of the Year and serves on the  Board of Directors for the National Network of State Teachers of the Year. She currently serves as a supervising instructor for teacher candidates in the middle grades program at the University of Georgia, Athens. Read her bio. Contact Jemelleh.


Joe Fatheree 

NNSTOY Director of Strategic Project and Fellowships Coordinator

Joseph Fatheree is the 2007 Illinois State Teacher of the Year, a member of the National Network of State Teachers of the Year, and a 2016 Finalist for the Global Teacher of the Year. He currently teaches at Effingham High School in Effingham Illinois. Read his bio. Contact Joe.


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