Today we are having Harriet Sanford on our program to hear about her career in education and her current work supporting public teachers and students through the NEA foundation.
Good morning, Harriet. Nice to have you here!
Good morning, James.
Harriet, why did you go into education?
I began my career about 40 years ago as a public-school teacher at an elementary school.
Although I did not remain in the classroom for many years, my commitment to improving lives and underserved communities for the better never faltered.
It has been a privilege to work in education philanthropy for the last 12 years.
Why have you been involved in education philanthropy, that is, supporting teachers and students through a foundation?
Well, to answer your question, I have to start with my parents.
Neither my mother nor father completed their education, but they were adamant that their children take advantage of all of opportunities that a public education offers both in and out of school time.
My parents fully expected their children to pursue higher education and ensured that we could immerse ourselves in our studies, service, sports, and more.
Now many communities, schools and families are facing insufficient resources, just like what we faced those days.
My work and the foundation's work is to do all we can to ensure that every student has access to a quality education and finds his or her own joy in learning.
Um, I see. Now, Harriet, can you tell us what the NEA foundation is and what support it gives teachers?
OK. The NEA foundation is an independent public charity.
It was created in 1969 by educators for educators, to improve public education for all students.
We distribute grants to educators three times each year to fund their creative and innovative classroom projects.
Last year, all grants empowered more than 6,000 educators, reaching more than 186,000 students.
We also have annual awards for teaching excellence, honoring the challenging but crucial work that public school educators do every day.
Your work is really appreciated.
In addition, we have a global learning fellowship.
Educators can go abroad as part of a year-long professional development program.
Participating educators return from their travels with fresh knowledge, skills and perspective needed to teach in the global age.
And they are better equipped to deliver globally focused curriculum in their home schools and communities.
I have heard that you have a partner called EverFi.
How do EverFi and the NEA foundation work together?
Yeah, the NEA foundation and EverFi work together to increase educator and student access to technology and digital learning tools.
We collectively strive to support critical skill areas that will enhance students' ultimate academic and life success.
Could you give us some details about your work?
Yeah. Okay. The partnership currently supports NEA school districts across the country, providing free access to EverFi's digital resources and accompanying professional development.
A number of school districts have participated.
Our partnership is leading us to work on more programming to develop initiatives in social and emotional learning.
What encouragement would you give teachers who are working to integrate critical skills education into their classrooms?
My key piece of advice to educators, no matter what or whom they teach, is almost always the same.
Excellence is what you are after.
And you are not going to let anything, or anyone stand between your students and excellence.
Be gentle, kind and caring with your students, but be fierce about their education.
Okay, thank you very much, Harriet, for talking to us about your work.
This is the end of the first interview.
Questions 1 to 5 are based on what you have just heard.
Question 1: Why does the woman go into education?
Question 2: What is her parents' attitude towards their children's education?
Question 3: What does the NEA foundation do to improve public education?
Question 4: What do both EverFi and the NEA foundation plan to do in the future?
Question 5: According to the woman, what quality should be pursued by a teacher?