Salzman Joins Knowles Cohort of Teaching Fellows

Salzman Joins Knowles Cohort of Teaching Fellows

Emily SalzmanEmily Salzman is SESP's sixth consecutive recipient of the Knowles Teaching Fellowship.Northwestern University alumna Emily Salzman (MS21) a math teacher at Chicago’s Lane Tech College Prep High School, is the latest School of Education and Social Policy (SESP) recipient of a five-year fellowship from the Knowles Science Teaching Foundation.

It’s the sixth year in a row that a SESP student or alumnus has joined the prestigious group of teaching fellows. The Knowles network supports early-career, high school math and science teachers who show potential as leaders in the classroom and beyond.

Salzman, a graduate of the master’s in teaching program at the School of Education and Social Policy, belongs to the first generation of teachers who completed student teaching without entering the classroom, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. When she returned in person last fall, she said both the generosity of her fellow teachers and the Knowles network helped her navigate her rookie year.

“From helping each other with lesson planning and generating ideas to supporting each other through hardships, it’s been so nice to have this community of passionate, driven teachers who constantly want to improve their practice,” she said.

Salzman’s cohort includes 31 teachers with varied backgrounds, including three published authors, a doctoral graduate in chemistry, a doctoral graduate in microbiology, three Americorps members, and three with international teaching experience.

As a fellow, she has access to a suite of benefits valued at more than $150,000, including stipends; grants for professional development, classroom materials and National Board Certification; coaching and mentoring from experienced teachers and teacher educators; support for teacher leadership initiatives; and membership in a national community of nearly 450 math and science educators.

Over the last year, Salzman met in person with her Knowles cohort twice; in addition, she and three other first year teachers and an advisor meet regularly. “Many of the activities I’ve implemented in my classroom come from these discussions,” she said. “I know that I can always reach out to any of them if I’m looking for support.”

At Lane, Salzman is part of the Grading for Equity committee, which puts together various professional development sessions for teachers and encourages them to think critically about their grading practices. Her own teaching has already been changed by the experience, she says. “We’re now asking what a students’ grade should reflect, and if we are really giving every student the same chance at succeeding given their backgrounds and situations outside of school,” she says.

She hopes to change how girls view their potential and sense of belonging in the math classroom. Growing up, the voices she heard most often in her own math classes were those of male students who didn’t seem hesitant to speak up. The girls, meanwhile, often began with comments like, “I don’t know if this is right, but…”

“I want my math classroom to be one where misconceptions are celebrated as learning opportunities, and where all students feel comfortable taking risks and being brave,” she says. “Ideally, we need teachers across disciplines to empower girls in the classroom.”

In addition to Salzman, SESP Knowles Fellows include:

  • Amber Luczak teaches chemistry and physics at Marshall Metro High School in Chicago.
  • Bradley Smith teaches AP Calculus BC, Algebra 1, and Algebra 2 at Grosse Pointe North High School in Michigan and is working on revamping the curriculum.
  • Rohan Prakash is teaching at Homestead High School in Cupertino, Calif. He teaches AP Statistics and Algebra 1 and is working on a pilot culturally responsive education program within his district. He is also piloting a project-based learning algebra summer course.
  • Mason Rocca is a math teacher at Beacon Academy in Evanston and will assume a new role as interim head of school at Baker Demonstration School in Evanston for the 2022-23 school year.
  • Dan Voss is a curriculum development specialist for Brian Reiser's group in SESP, where he leads units and writes for the OpenSciEd High School Chemistry curriculum. He also teaches pre-service teachers at the University of Minnesota.
  • John Holcomb is a math teacher at Sequoia High School, Redwood City, California.
  • Liz Smith is in her eighth year of teaching; she recently started at Walter Payton College Prep in Chicago.
  • Elizabeth van Es is professor of education at the University of California, Irvine.
By Julie Deardorff
Last Modified: 4/26/22