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Urban Teacher Fellows

Tonya Mayfield, Master Teacher, Urban Center Fellow

5th Grade ELA Teacher, Henry F. Kite Elementary

 

Tonya Mayfield teaches a student

Tonya Mayfield is a Jacksonville native. She graduated from the University of Central Florida with her Bachelors in Elementary Education and her Masters in Exceptional Student Education K-12. During her twenty-one years of teaching she has been a reading interventionist, ESE resource teacher, Reading Recovery teacher, and taught second through fifth grades. Ms. Mayfield taught at Sallye B. Mathis and Brentwood Elementary prior to coming to Henry F. Kite Elementary ten years ago. All three of the schools that Ms. Mayfield has taught in are located in the Duval County urban core. Although Ms. Mayfield has been approached about becoming an instructional coach or taking on another role outside of the classroom, she loves being with students and that has kept her in the classroom. In addition to teaching 5th grade, Ms. Mayfield also mentors novice teachers from UNF. “When interns leave my classroom, I make sure they are prepared to teach in any kind of school”, said Mayfield. She also talked about the continued support and mentorship she offers teachers she has mentored during their internship.

Ms. Mayfield talked about what makes Henry Kite a special place to work. Although there has been a lot of principal changes in the past ten years since she has been at the school, there has not been a lot of teacher turnover. Most of the teachers have been at the school seven to ten years. The faculty truly care about and support each other and people do not leave because they all work well together. They share the work and they share the ownership of the student’s success. It is clear that Mayfield has strong relationships with not only her co-workers but also the students in her class. The word care was used over and over again by her students as they described Ms. Mayfield. “She cares about everyone” said one student. Another student talked about how Ms. Mayfield has high expectations for all of them and tries to help them all, “Everything she does is to prepare us for 6th grade and our futures”.  Ms. Mayfield’s students talked extensively about Ms. Mayfield’s connection to what was happening at their homes. She uses tools such as Class Dojo to stay connected with parents constantly. Her deep knowledge of her students and their families is evident in her individualized instruction and ability to engage the diverse learners in her room.

 

Interview with Tonya Mayfield

Master Teacher Center Fellows have a well-developed sense of teacher efficacy and take responsibility for supporting all students both emotionally and academically. How do you support students academically and emotionally?

I provide emotional support by watching them and knowing them. I can tell by how they look, the clothes they are wearing, how they come in in the morning if things aren’t going well. I first look at myself and make sure it isn’t me who is off that day and then if I decide there is something going on with the student I meet with them one-on-one and ask them, what do you need? Do you need me to call mom, get the counselor, go for a walk with a friend you can trust? I give my students a lot of choices. I let them choose where they sit, who they work with, and what they work on. If students do not get their work done or do not have what they need I ask them if we can message home and see if they can do it over the weekend. I have the ability to change assignments and the environment for them if need be. I am also very open with the students about my own mood and how I am feeling on any given day. Although I give the students a lot of freedom there is also structure and they thrive off of that. Some students come to school every day for the structure and praise I provide them.

 

Master Teacher Center Fellows adopt an inquiry stance to their practice. What does taking an inquiry stance to your work mean to you?

I work really well with my cooperating teacher which is very helpful when looking at the students in our classes. She and I take the district curriculum and tailor it to meet the needs of our students. We have to use other pieces of curriculum to bridge the gap. We are very data driven yet the students have a lot of choice and autonomy. I pull small groups and have individual data conversations. I treat the students like adults. My current problem of practice is district computer programs. The reports are showing that some kids are not succeeding but not providing us with details on which answers they are missing. I have been adjusting the forms for my kids to see which questions in certain programs they are missing. I am constantly conferencing with them and making adjustments. I tweak my inquiry based on the student data.

 

Master Teacher Center Fellows advocate with students and families in the communities in which they work. How are you and advocate for families and students in the Kite community?

Fifth grade is a transition year so I make sure I am giving parents the information they need to make the right choice for middle school for their child. I try to help them match their student’s interests with schools. I also encourage the parents to go walk the schools and get a feel for where they are going to send their child. I communicate regularly with parents about their student’s goals. If parents have issues with technology I find alternative ways to communicate with them. I also find other ways for their student to do their work if technology is required. I eliminated i-Ready issues by establishing campus time for kids to use the computers. Class Dojo is an app that sends texts to parents so that I can stay connected to them. I usually send parents between 2-4 messages a week. This is how I share individual as well as community based information and it allows parents to text me back.

 

Master Teacher Center Fellows have a deep knowledge of both content and teaching strategies and work collectively with other colleagues to reflect on and improve instruction. How do you work collectively with colleagues?

I have a great team. We have common planning and my 3rd-5th grade ELA team have all been teaching a long time. I also have a reading coach in my classroom five days a week for an hour and a half. She and I plan together and she is an amazing partner teacher. I host UNF interns in my class and they also bring a lot to our team. It is so important to place interns with teachers who want to have interns and know how to mentor new teachers.

 

Tonya Mayfield

ELA 5th Grade Teacher, Henry F. Kite Elementary

mayfieldt@duvalschools.org

 


 


Corry Daniel Johnson, Master Teacher, Urban Center Fellow

Math Teacher, William R. Raines High School

2018Corry Johnson

Corry, a Jacksonville native and father of two high school boys who attend Duval County Public schools, is a stakeholder in and advocate for public education. A 2014 graduate of the University of North Florida, he earned a Bachelor’s of Arts degree in Mathematics. and a minor in Professional Education. Corry believes “that compassion is paramount to breaking down social barriers and that an honest, confident personality will help him build trust with his students”. As a participant in the Jacksonville Teacher Residency’s first cohort he began his teaching career as a mathematics teacher at The William M. Raines High in August of 2015 and graduated with his Master of Education in 2016.

Corry is a true advocate for all his students. His emphasis on the importance of educating the whole child goes above and beyond focusing on mathematics but also on building positive relationships, developing leadership characteristics and becoming a successful member of society. The high expectations Mr. Johnson has for his students is apparent from the moment you walk in his classroom. As you enter you see a large photo of Corry holding a bass – the caption under this photo says, “If you give a man a fish you feed him for a day, if you teach a man to fish you feed him for a lifetime”. Mr. Johnson uses humor and student friendly language that not only engages students but communicates his high expectations for their work. When asked about Mr. Johnson’s teaching style, a student in his class responds, “Mr. Johnson tells us to stop saying we can’t and pushes us to do what we need to do even if we think we can’t. He is also really good at explaining things”. This sentiment was echoed by multiple other students in Mr. Johnson’s class. Students are engaged in their own learning as they work cooperatively with their teacher and classmates in making math relevant and even fun! Mr. Johnson is also a baseball coach at Raines, engages in action research on his own practice and continues his active involvement in JTR by supporting fellow teachers and JTR residents.

Interview with Corry Johnson

Master Teacher Center Fellows have a well-developed sense of teacher efficacy and take responsibility for supporting all students both emotionally and academically. How do you support students academically and emotionally?


I try to learn as much as I can about them at the beginning of the year. I want them to think outside of the immediate and set goals and plans for themselves. I ask them to think about where they want to be or see themselves five years from now. I then have them communicate how they plan on achieving their goals. I tutor my students after school as well as give them a lot of one-on-one help in class. I also try to support them by attending after school events and coaching baseball. I push the students to do their best at whatever it is they are doing.

Master Teacher Center Fellows adopt an inquiry stance to their practice. What does taking an inquiry stance to your work mean to you?


Taking an inquiry stance means that I am trying to figure out what I can do to improve my instruction. This usually begins with looking at student data and creating plan of action based off of what the student data tells me. I am constantly trying to figure out ways to make students think more and help them put the dots together for themselves. Taking an inquiry stance requires me to learn how I learn and how to take what I learn to make me a better person and educator.

Master Teacher Center Fellows advocate with students and families in the communities in which they work. How are you and advocate for families and students in the Raines community? 


I attend as many after school activities as time allows in an attempt to see the students outside of school and have the students see me as a real person instead of just a teacher. I have been the assistant coach of the Varsity Baseball team the past two years. I also offer tutoring in the fall when I am not coaching.

Master Teacher Center Fellows have a deep knowledge of both content and teaching strategies and work collectively with other colleagues to reflect on and improve instruction. How do you work collectively with colleagues?
We have designated time for our Professional Learning Community once a week at Raines. I work closely with the three other Geometry teachers, bouncing ideas off each other, problem solving, and debriefing how different lessons went in different classrooms. I am also still in contact with the JTR students that were in my cohort. They act as critical friends as well as a support system.

Corry Johnson
Math teacher, Raines High School
Johnsonc8@duvalschools.org

 

 


 Darby Delane Biography

 

 Picture of Darby Delane

 

 

Darby Delane is a public school teacher, teacher educator, activist-researcher engaged in leveraging the democratic purpose of public education in the American South. As a border-crossing teacher and teacher educator, she positions her daily work between K-12 and higher education to keep her research and practice responsive and relevant at a time in history when rapid change is the only reliable constant. 

 

In 2013 Darby stepped out of the Academy to return to the middle school classroom. 7th graders in her Civics courses inspired her to create the Emancipated Teacher Project in order to help her improve her culturally responsive pedagogy.  The work has since been renamed the Emancipated School Project, and has developed as an ongoing participatory action research endeavor led by some of the most chronically disciplined K-12 students in her school district.  Borrowing from the practitioner inquiry framework, students partner with their teachers and administrators to untangle the impossibilities of “one size fits all” accountability policies and how they are further complicated by the ever-growing gap between the cultures of the American teaching force and the students they teach. 

 

Darby’s research interests focus on the power of institutionalized social identities that are socially constructed and kept intact by dominant discourses focused on “school failure.” She also studies theoretical and practical frameworks that hold promise both for growing public school cultures of inquiry and innovation, and for helping our nation relax its grip on outdated, harmful, and deficit-driven perspectives that reward the very few while punishing far too many children, their educators, and their schools.  Some of these frameworks include participatory action research, practitioner inquiry, school-university partnerships, the middle school concept, feminisms, critical race theory, multiliteracies, dialogism, communities of practice, and third space theory. 

 

Emancipated School Project: 

 

 

 


 

Emancipated School Project Video by Olivia Schneider:

 

 

 


 

 

Darby Delane and Friends

 

"Teachers want to change the world"