As an elementary school student, Christie Imholt dreamed about being a teacher and having a classroom of her own one day. Her inspiration was personal—both of Christie’s parents and three of her aunts are educators.
Christie did grow up to lead her own class, and she also explored other roles in education, including research and policy. After receiving her master’s degree and teaching, Christie spent five years at the U.S. Department of Education where she addressed equity issues in our country’s K-12 educational system by developing and supporting over 40 states’ implementation of federal policies related to school accountability, school turnaround, and educator effectiveness.
Wanting to continue her work to close the opportunity gap that she witnessed firsthand as a teacher, and hear a variety of perspectives on how to do that, Christie became an EP Fellow.
“The Fellowship connected me with an amazing group of passionate and innovative thinkers in education here in Denver. My peers in the program have truly challenged my positions and helped me refine my views, particularly around how we build an equitable educational system for all students, and pushed me to think outside the box. I have an incredible network to be able to call on to think through my own work and get new perspectives.”
- Strategy & Planning
To ensure that every child succeeds, Denver Public Schools (DPS) is supporting schools in strengthening distributive leadership structures through Teacher Leadership & Collaboration (TLC)—DPS’ leadership model that allows highly effective teachers to lead without leaving the classroom. At TLC schools, teachers are organized into small teams guided by a Senior Team Lead and other teacher leader roles. Senior Team Leads spend half their time in the classroom teaching and half their time observing, coaching, and planning with their team of teachers. As a result, teachers receive frequent, real time feedback and support from a peer to help strengthen teaching and learning.
As an EP Fellow, Christie served as a program manager for Teacher Leadership & Career Pathways at DPS, where she helped schools strengthen their ability to support and grow their teachers. Christie’s experience developing a progress monitoring strategy for more than 40 states at the U.S. Department of Education, along with her own teaching experience receiving coaching support from colleagues and serving as a teacher leader, provided her with the skills and experience to develop a strong planning process for schools to customize DPS’ Teacher Leadership and Collaboration model. Christie continues in this role leading the work of 115 schools as they develop systems and structures to implement TLC in 2016-17.
If Christie had a magic wand, she “would give the teaching profession the respect it deserves. Teaching is not only one of the most demanding professions, but requires an exceptional level of knowledge and skill—much like being a doctor.”