Advocacy Fellowship Empowers, Elevates Public School Principals

October 05, 2022  

Eleven principals, alumni of the Charles Butt Foundation (formerly Raise Your Hand Texas Foundation) programs, will embark on a nine-month fellowship focused on growing community leaders and advocates on behalf of public schools in Texas. 

These leaders, representing the diversity of the state of Texas and its public schools, are the latest cohort of Raise Your Hand Texas’ Principals Advocacy Fellowship participants. The new cohort of Principals Advocacy Fellowship includes:

  • Justin D. Crittenden, Tom Moore HS, Ingram ISD
  • Wayland M. Cooksey, Ed.D, Miles High School, Miles ISD
  • Sonia Gonzales, M.Ed, Kermit Elementary, Kermit ISD
  • Toscha Reeves, A.M. Story Intermediate School, Palestine ISD
  • Holly Elgin, M.Ed., Annetta Elementary School, Aledo ISD
  • Aretha Jackson, Kerr Elementary School, Allen ISD
  • Michael Semmler, Leaman Junior High School, Lamar Consolidated ISD
  • Kellie Rapp, Ph.D., Tadlock Elementary, Frisco ISD
  • Patricia Ephlin, Ed.D, Hernandez Middle School, Round Rock ISD
  • Mark Koller, Stacy Kaye Danielson Middle School, Leander ISD
  • Todd Bloomer, Churchill High School, Northeast ISD

These Principal Advocacy Fellows will learn concrete advocacy skills, expand their education policy knowledge, and get directly involved in electoral and legislative advocacy during a nine-month program, kicking off in October 2022 and carrying through the 88th Regular Session of the Texas Legislature in 2023.  

“With political discourse around public education becoming more polarized and partisan, there has never been a more important time for public school leaders to get involved in the policy-making process,” said Dr. Libby Cohen, Raise Your Hand Texas’ senior director of advocacy. “Principals have first-hand, front-line experience in the day-to-day work of our public schools, their teachers and students.” 

As Principals Advocacy fellows, these ten principals will:

  • Attend four cohort-wide training and education sessions in Austin
  • Participate in candidate forums and get-out-the vote campaigns in their communities
  • Develop and Implement advocacy action plans with the support of Raise Your Hand’s regional advocacy directors. 

The Principals Advocacy Fellowship is issue-based and non-partisan. Fellows will not be involved in supporting or opposing specific candidates.

Categories: Advocacy

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