Executive Summary

Debbie Vaughn, M.Ed

Interviewee Background

Debbie Vaughn, M.Ed., teaches fifth grade, and is the English as a Second Language Specialist (ESL) for Lebanon Special School District in Tennessee. Since moving to Tennessee from Florida, in 2004, she has been named Middle Tennessee ESL Teacher of the Year (2009), Castle Heights Upper Elementary School Teacher of the Year(2010), Lebanon Special School District Teacher of the Year (5-8, 2010), and Regional Finalist for the State of Tennessee Teacher of the  Year (2010).

Do you feel the process of teacher engagement in the reform effort has been effective?

Absolutely. The first six weeks of the school year was focused on evaluation. Teachers have been coached and presented with rubrics, there were in-services on how to fill out the rubrics, and the district has done everything it could to make teachers aware of the evaluation process. These things are essential to keeping teacher up to speed.

How would you improve the process of teacher engagement in the reform efforts?

TIME. Every moment I give to talking about what I do in the classroom stops me from doing it in the classroom. I know we need to be evaluated, but more time would help balance being evaluated with providing quality instruction.

What other advice would you give other districts/states as they consider teacher evaluation reform efforts?

●      Keep it simple. The priority of the teacher evaluation reform efforts should be on excellent instruction. The more we evaluate ourselves (good or bad) the less time there is for our students.

●      Balance time.  A district could have numerous reform-type initiatives (e.g. new evaluation reforms, Common Core standards introduction, or NCLB waivers) all going on at the same time. Try to balance those initiatives in a fair way.

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