“Teachers need support from a community of professionals with grit at all levels of leadership.”

A graduate of the Shelby County School District in Memphis, Tennessee, Anna Bryant saw the inequities of public education firsthand. “We all knew the areas of Memphis that had either the worst or the best schools,” she says. “It seemed like the same city lines and ideals that divided race and class also polarized school quality.”

Wanting to support local underserved communities, Anna joined Teach For America’s Nashville corps after she graduated from college with a degree in economics. Her experience teaching high school math opened her eyes to how policies and systems outside the classroom also impacted her students’ life outcomes. She enrolled in Duke University’s Masters of Public Policy program to better understand how public institutions could support community change.

Education Pioneers helped Anna apply her knowledge and experience in policy, economics, and education to more deeply understand the issues facing students and educators. “EP’s model of placing groups of professionals in the same city, working in different organizations but with many opportunities to share their experiences, enables each of us to piece together the many different aspects of education reform,” she says. “That would never be possible if we were singularly carrying out our work individually without EP.”

  • Academics
  • Data & Analysis
  • Policy
As a Fellow at TNTP in Memphis, Anna defined what it takes to be a good teacher quantitatively. Analyzing extensive teacher-level data, Anna identified a mix of factors, including small learning communities, coaching initiatives, and consistent data collection, that positively impact teacher performance. Most importantly, she says, “Teachers need support from a community of professionals with grit at all levels of leadership. This takeaway was a paradigm shift for me.”
Now, Anna is charged with managing teacher evaluation data for Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools as an Analyst Fellow, which serves 80,000+ students. She is thrilled to continue influencing her local education landscape.
“Tennessee needs analysts to project our needs in a post-Race to the Top funding world, advocates to keep our state standards as rigorous as possible, curriculum experts to align our evaluation systems with best classroom practices, and more,” Anna says. “Tennessee is buzzing with opportunities to engage in this movement.”