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TNLI: Major Accomplishments by TNLI MetLife Fellows
Sample Comments and Observations on the Importance and Value of the MetLife Fellows' TNLI

MetLife Fellows

  • TNLI has provided a vehicle in which to prepare and produce important research for our schools, district and state. Our research promotes positive change within our district and state. Lexington (KY).
  • Thanks to MetLife, TNLI has put me in a situation where I reflect upon my teaching practice. It also encourages me to influence policy within my school and the greater community. MetLife Fellow Margie Smagacz, Chicago.
  • Interaction with policymakers creates a dialogue between teachers and policymakers concerning issues that are relevant to education. Teachers who wish to sustain a dialogue with policymakers must work collaboratively to have their voices heard. TNLI provides the forum to do just that. Wyoming.
  • The work I'm doing has made it possible for me to have a much broader impact. I have greater empowerment because my work is disseminated and shared to effect policymaking and to benefit others. MetLife Fellow Harriet Levine, Santa Barbara County (CA).
  • TNLI has given me a fresh approach to the practice of teaching through action research. It has provided me with specific direction to improve student achievement. Santa Clara County (CA).
  • When I am included in professional development decisions as in the TNLI model, I am more accountable, more supported, and more invested in my own learning; as a result, my students learn more. MetLife Fellow Lamson Lam, New York City.
  • Teachers Network Leadership Institute is just such a great way of empowering classroom teachers and teacher leaders! MetLife Fellow Katherine Pope, Charlotte (NC).
  • TNLI encourages teachers to be researchers and this is important because it is the teachers who are the front line and can truly inform policy based on first hand experience. TNLI provides an avenue for advocacy. MetLife Fellow Linda Wiezorek, Santa Barbara County (CA).
  • The Leadership Institute far exceeds other forms of professional development. Participants are respected and valued. In addition, since the Wyoming Teacher Leadership Institute is part of the national network, it is afforded greater recognition and clout with policymakers. Wyoming.
  • As a result of presenting my action research, which documents a need to provide economically disadvantaged students with opportunities to select books, the principals of neighboring school systems have implemented book distribution programs. Also, as a direct result of my TNLI MetLife action research,, a “Reading is Fundamental” book distribution program has been established for 12,000 students in Miami.. TNLI action research is great—and it's having a definite impact on student achievement! MetLife Fellow Lois Magnus, Miami.
  • In my involvement with the Teachers Network Leadership Institute over the past two years, I've experienced again and again that quality collaboration strengthens my learning. Whether designing action research projects with colleagues, presenting results at conferences, or meeting with distinguished educators, my colleagues and I have enhanced our skills when sharing the experience. With feedback and ideas from other teachers, I become a more observant, thorough, and creative educator. MetLife Fellow Erin Roche, Chicago.


  • I am excited about the valuable work that is being undertaken by the MetLife Fellows. It is through the work of dedicated educators such as these individuals that important innovations in education policy occur. Lois Capps, United States Representative.
  • I commend the Teachers Network Leadership Institute and MetLife Foundation for taking the initiative to ensure that the experience and expertise of our teachers in an active and integral part of education policymaking. Our teachers are charged with implementing policy decisions and ensuring the needs of students are met in the context of state and national education policy. The voice of teachers is essential in crafting sound, effective education policy. California Assembly Member Hannah-Beth Jackson.
  • I am so pleased with the work that the MetLife Fellows are doing. I, too, am interested in teacher retention and the teacher shortage. As a former principal, I am acutely aware of this situation. You can count on me to assist you in any way that I can. Florida State Representative Dorothy Bendross-Mindingall.
  • Teachers Network Leadership Institute provides an outstanding opportunity to capitalize on the expertise of exemplary Chicago Public School teachers to develop effective policies that strengthen student achievement. CPS looks forward to working with the MetLife Fellows to develop policies that promote effective teaching and ensure student achievement, while also increasing the leadership capacity of our teachers. Arne Duncan, CEO, Chicago Public Schools.
  • I strongly support your efforts. TNLI is to be commended for your dedication and commitment in attempting to transform our schools into model learning environments that will contribute to the good of the nation, the city, and our own community. United States Representative Charles B. Rangel.
  • Teachers Network Leadership Institute—Wyoming grew out of my involvement with the Leadership Institute. TNLI encourages teachers to become involved in how education policy is set both at the state and the national level. The leadership training it provides teachers is innovative professional development. Governor (former) Jim Geringer, Wyoming—State of the State Address 2002.
  • I was thoroughly impressed and have conveyed your concerns to others inside our campaign. Keep up the good work and please be sure to invite me back again. Again, I appreciate the notion that you included me and will remember your effort later. A teacher will be included at the policy table. David Belton, Deputy Political Director for Erskine Bowles for Senate. Charlotte (NC).
  • The TNLI model provides us with direct, consistent, ongoing contact to policymakers at a state and local level! Pam Hammonds, President (former) of the Fayette County (KY) Education Association.
  • I am happy to be affiliated with TNLI—that has teachers and the improvement of education as its main objective. Dr. Shirley Johnson, United Teachers of Dade.
  • TNLI is an opportunity for teachers to not only have a voice—but for that voice to be heard. California State Assembly Representative Hannah Beth Jackson.

Media Representatives:

  • From a media perspective, the voice of the teacher is critical. It is especially crucial as a contribution to policymaking—and that is where TNLI work takes on such major importance. The classroom-based research conducted by the MetLife Fellows—which affects policymaking and is conducted outside their regular teaching responsibilities—is remarkable for its scope and impact. Clearly, this research benefits the entire system and has lasting value for the students who are the ultimate beneficiaries. Wendy Shelton, Director of Communications for Santa Barbara County Office of Education (CA).
  • We would love to get your “teacher news” for the Express. This will help bring teaches to our reading audience and I can see TNLI is such a good program! Dannie McMillon, Central E.X.P.R.E.S.S. NEWS. Miami.
  • The Leadership Institute is a unique opportunity for teachers! Local Wyoming newspaper reporter.
  • I am eager to report on the progress of the MetLife Fellows in Lexington! I am familiar with this work and am very excited. Linda Blackford, education reporter for the Lexington Herald Leader.
  • Teachers tell students what to do, but TNLI wants teachers to also have more of a say in what teachers do. In an effort to offer teachers a great role, TNLI—Chicago has chosen seven MetLife Fellows to conduct classroom research—which they will then turn into policy statements and share with officials at Chicago Public Schools and policymakers in Springfield. Mark Lawton, Staff Writer, Lerner Community Newspaper, Chicago.

School Principals:

  • A school community benefits greatly from having a MetLife Fellow as one of their members because the Fellow, through his/her involvement, brings a level of expertise that combines research with collaboration. This combination helps with local efforts in the improvement of education for all students. Jose Nichols, Principal of Mary Buren Elementary in Guadalupe, California.
  • Where has TNLI been in Kentucky?? We have needed this kind of advocacy/research since our reform began in 1991! Principal Stanton Simandle, Lexington (KY).
  • TNLI action research provides a exceptional opportunity for teacher collaboration in a classroom setting. Santa Clara County (CA).
  • MetLife Fellows relate well to teachers, community members, and people in the political sphere. Their emphasis as they look toward the future of education is always on the impact that new programs have on the individual teacher in the classroom. Charles LaBorde, Principal, Northwest School of the Arts, Charlotte (NC).
  • From an administrative point of view, I see great value in the MetLife Fellows' working on policy issues, especially when their positions are reinforced by their own action research. Such work adds a voice that very much needs to be heard in the policy arena and certainly enhances teacher professionalism. Jerry Swanitz, Assistant Principal, Santa Ynez High School, Santa Ynez (CA).
  • I can see the value of this kind of experience for teacher in empowering them to ask questions and seek answers to improving student achievement. Wyoming school principal.
  • I really believe in getting information from teachers because they are involved everyday with the reality of helping children; teachers see what is needed. The MetLife Fellows action research gives teachers the opportunity to try some things out and give administrators and colleagues some quality answers. Cecilia Hunter, Principal, Arcola Lake Elementary School, Miami.

MetLife Fellow Colleagues [other teachers]:

  • A fascinating initiative! TNLI and action research benefit teachers of students, especially Title I and special needs students by giving the teacher insight and a bank of information. Santa Clara/Santa Cruz Counties (CA).
  • The MetLife Fellows' action research is a valuable tool for teachers because it allows us to reflect on our teaching and have data to back up professional instincts about what's working. It's also important because it helps teachers gain credibility and inform policy. Marjorie Rogasner, Daniel Boone Elementary School, Chicago.
  • The teachers at Tates Creek Elementary School want to know… How can I get involved? I can help gather strong data for whatever teachers need! We're in the ‘trenches' here! Lexington (KY).
  • MetLife Fellow Ileana Vazquez's action research on cross-age tutoring has been tremendously beneficial for our program. Collaboration within the team has increased our cohesiveness. We are better prepared to face our students. Ms. Vazquez is always excited following TNLI meetings; they must really provide exciting professional growth opportunities. I want to join the group! Danny DeVito, SED teacher, Madison Middle School, Miami.
  • What a GREAT professional opportunity the Leadership Institute is! How do I apply for next year?? A Wyoming teacher in a participating district.
  • I dislike the limited amount of decision-making that teachers have in the classroom. They are given so many directives from the top, and teachers are required to implement so many mandates. I believe there wouldn't be as many problems if teachers had more input in the development of policies such as they do in TNLI. Award-winning Chicago teacher.

Other General Comments/Feedback from TNLI Meeting Attendees:

  • There are not many opportunities for teacher advocacy—and MetLife provides this [opportunity] through the Teachers Network Leadership Institute. Santa Barbara County (CA).
  • This TNLI action research and policy process is very worthwhile because as colleagues we get to collaborate and discuss theory and then apply it immediately in the classroom. Santa Clara County (CA).
  • The MetLife Fellows' TNLI elevates the professionalism of teachers. Santa Barbara County (CA).
  • Our community's Teachers Network Leadership Institute affiliate is a true learning community that we hope to be able to replicate in our buildings, in our school system, and in our city at-large. Dr. Leslie McCarley, Director, West Mecklenburg (NC) Collaborating for Education Reform Initiative.
  • There are not many opportunities for teacher advocacy and MetLife provides for this through the Teachers Network Leadership Institute. Santa Barbara County (CA).
  • The Teachers Network Leadership Institute elevates the professionalism of teachers. Santa Barbara County (CA).
  • Talking with this group of fellows has been one of the most stimulating experiences I have ever had. A Wyoming State Legislator.
  • Among policymakers and professors and the California Teaching Commission, the teacher's voice needs to be heard. The MetLife Fellows provide this opportunity. Santa Barbara County (CA).


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