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New San Diego Math Teacher Awarded Prestigious Fellowship

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Aired 9/6/11

With Labor Day Weekend behind us all of the county’s school kids are back in class and it’s teachers are back to work. One San Diego math teachers is the recipient of a fellowship focused on keep people in the demanding profession.

— Candice Director is a brand new high school math teacher at High Tech High Media Arts in Point Loma.

Candice Director making the last fixes to her classroom before the start of school, August 24, 2011.
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Above: Candice Director making the last fixes to her classroom before the start of school, August 24, 2011.

She is enthusiastic about working with tenth graders, but she isn’t naïve about the demands of teaching.

“I think that teaching is one of the hardest jobs that we have," she said. "And I think it’s also a job that people end up doing alone. I think that to be a great teacher you need to not just be able to collaborate with your kids and have them collaborating, but you need to be collaborating with other teachers that have a similar vision.”

About half of new teachers leave the profession within five years, but Director has a hand up on others just starting in the profession. She is a fellow with the Knowles Science Teaching Foundation. The fellowship is valued at $150,000 and includes workshops, professional development and resources for her classroom. The program will also keep her in contact and collaborating with the other fellows over five years.

“Our program is designed to acknowledge that the first few years are really critical and they need support and resources through those first years so that the most qualified individuals are going to be the ones that stick around and become experienced master teachers," said Nicole Gillespie, who directs the teaching fellows program.

Director is one of 36 fellows chosen from more than 200 applicants nationwide.

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