The participants in the leadership and professional development program completed their first two years at school and continue their work towards equal access to quality education in their new proffessional pursuits.
“You all have what it takes to contribute to sustainable change in education – you are open to diversity and to new solutions, you focus on people’s strengths and build upon them, you are deep thinkers with a vision for the future and you seek various ways to accomplish your big goals.” The CEO of Teach For Bulgaria, Evgenia Peeva-Kirova, addressed the participants in the class of 2016-2018 who officially completed their first two years in the leadership and professional development program this June and joined the alumni community. “People with such qualities do not complain; they are not compliant with the status quo, but relentlessly work to change it. They act with acceptance, understanding, collaboration, open-mindedness, a long-term vision, and patience,” Evgenia Peeva-Kirova added. She urged the new alumni to keep sharing their future accomplishments and collaborate with all supporters of the cause – equal access to high-quality education for every child in Bulgaria.
The official ceremony, which marked the teachers’ successful completion of the program, took place on June 30, in Sofia. Ninety-nine participants completed the program which was just the beginning of their potentially long-term career focused on providing high-quality education in Bulgaria. Teach For Bulgaria alumni grow in different professional fields after two years of teaching. The majority of them stay in teaching, others plan to work on community development projects, and some pursue careers in education policy-making. Teach For Bulgaria’s alumni community now has over 260 members and with all current participants, team members, and partners of the organization, the number adds up to over 400 supporters of the cause – equal access to high-quality education for every child in Bulgaria.
The Deputy Minister of Education and Science, Tanya Mihaylova, was a special guest at the ceremony. She congratulated Teach For Bulgaria class of 2016-2018 and urged them to stay in the education system. She added that the education sector needed people with innovative thinking and an unconventional approach in order for our students to succeed.
“Believe that there is always hope and that everything is possible,” Kiril Petkov, one of Teach For Bulgaria’s supporters, advised the new alumni.
“Bulgaria needs modern-day heroes. Everybody should try to accomplish something brave, altruistic and focused on the development of our society. Believe that there is always hope and that everything is possible,” Kiril Petkov, one of Teach For Bulgaria’s supporters, advised the new alumni. He is an entrepreneur and founder of the Center for Economic Strategy and Competitiveness at Sofia University. He added that great changes could not happen overnight and society needed small projects in order to prosper.
“When I became a principal I knew that if I wanted to make a difference, I needed not just a revolution, but revolutionaries as well,” Valentina Korinova shared in her speech. She is the principal of 156 Primary School “Vasil Levski” in Kremikovtsi – a long-term partner of Teach For Bulgaria. So far six participants in the program have taught at the school and some of the new teacher from the class of 2018-2020 are going to start working there in September. They all work in collaboration with the rest of the teaching staff for the success of every student in Kremikovtsi. “You learned a lot, worked even more – with complete devotion. Keep doing it. We’ll celebrate your every future accomplishment,” Valentina Korinova stated.
The alumni reflected on their experience, shared their accomplishments and hardship, and talked about their future personal and professional development plans during the event on June 30. “My mission will not be accomplished until I design a toolkit for the classroom which would help other teachers,” shared Kristina Usheva, a biology teacher at the Professional High School of Veterinary Medicine and Agriculture in Kostinbrod. She is going to continue teaching there and focus not only on developing a toolkit for other teachers, but also on implementing innovative teaching methods in her classes.
Antonia Guryanova is also going to keep teaching at Primary School “St. Cyril and St. Methodius” in Dragichevo. “Teach For Bulgaria’s program gave me more confidence in my own abilities and introduced me to many people with whom I exchanged ideas and experience,” Antonia shared. Her focus for the next school year will be to involve the local community in her work with the students. “I already feel like I’m part of the community in Dragichevo and I would like to get the school, town hall, and community center to work together, so that we could have a stronger community and something to strive for,” she added. Antonia is planning to start a student council. Her idea is to have the mayor take consultations from the student council regarding communal issues of the whole village. She also hopes to be able to get more local stakeholders involved in school events and in the decision-making process regarding the education children get, through her work with the parents.
“The program was useful in the sense that I needed someone to have high expectations of me – this helped me grow as a person,” Nevyana Teodosieva shared. She taught Bulgarian language and literature at Primary School “Vasil Aprilov” in the village of Harlets, Kozloduy. This September she is going to apply her newly-gained professional experience in her new role of an Education Expert at Kozloduy Municipality. The team at Kozloduy Municipality gave her an offer because of her great work as a teacher.
Teach For Bulgaria class of 2016-2018 taught for two years at partner schools of the organization in 12 regions of the country. They went through a variety of trainings, qualifications, internships, and projects in the course of the two-year program. This helped them be more effective teachers and prepared them for their future professional development. Teach For Bulgaria is going to continue supporting the alumni of the program in their career development in the following three tracks – effective teaching and school leadership, social entrepreneurship, and public policy. The goal of the organization is to unite the entire community of current participants, alumni, partners, and supporters in the mission to provide equal access to high-quality education to every child in Bulgaria, regardless of where they live, which school they go to, and their socio-economic status.