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  • Sonia Smith

    Sonia Smith

    Sonia Smith comes from a long line of family educators (her grandmother integrated classrooms in Richmond, VA long before the national movement for desegregation) as well as exceptional English teachers throughout her junior high and high school years. Their passion for teaching made it a “natural” choice for her to become an English teacher as well, and Sonia now extends Read More »

What Teachers Are Saying

The VIVA opportunity was an amazing journey. That door opening allowed me to see across the country and into other classrooms. We sometimes teach in a bubble, where you are your own country, and being able to look into other classrooms (FL, TX, etc)…that experience has been profound. — Melony Smith-Wellington, Teacher, MET: Reflections from the Classroom

Teacher Blog Posts

Jim Szewc

How Loud will Your Voice Be?

By Jim Szewc The late, great Stephen Covey once said, “Find your voice and inspire others to find theirs.”  The following success story shows how lending your voice to issues that are important within our school walls and communities, such as teacher evaluations, can lead to equity and positive change.  If you take away anything […]


That Which Gets Measured Matters…

By Ann Neary This fall, in my large, comprehensive NYC public high school, teacher evaluations were recalculated (from official Spring evaluations) to include a standardized test component. The result?  Only one teacher out of 140 has a Highly Effective rating. Teachers were shocked and puzzled. They were not part of the policy making or decision […]

Andria Mitchell

Teachers Speak, VIVA Listens

By Andria Mitchell I had the privilege of attending as a speaker, representing teacher leaders at the Grantmakers for Education Conference.  Although, I was honored to be selected to present at such a prestigious event, I was a little nervous.  Speaking on behalf of teachers is a big deal to me, and I was hoping […]

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Current Events & Policy

VIVA Teacher Speaks Out on Chicago Teachers Union’s Common Core Vote

Freeda Pirillis, a first grade teacher in Chicago Public Schools, was a member of the very first VIVA Idea Exchange, Voices from the Classroom. For the last three years, she has been working with the Chicago Teachers Union to develop Common Core curricula. As she describes in this story on Chicago Public Radio, she was […]

Idea Exchange Updates


Engaging the experts in education

by Paul Toner As an educator and union leader, the past eight years have been challenging on many fronts, and I look forward to bringing my experiences as a middle school social studies teacher and former local and state teacher’s union leader to NVS to help elevate the voice of frontline practitioners in the ongoing […]

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