Education

NC Teacher of Year chooses advocacy job over return to CMS

James Ford, who is ending his term as N.C. Teacher of the Year, will take a job with the Raleigh-based Public School Forum rather than retuning to Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools.
James Ford, who is ending his term as N.C. Teacher of the Year, will take a job with the Raleigh-based Public School Forum rather than retuning to Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools. mhames@charlotteobserver.com

James Ford, the former Garinger High teacher who is wrapping up a stint as North Carolina’s teacher of the year, will take a job with the Raleigh-based Public School Forum, the forum announced Tuesday.

The forum is a nonpartisan research and advocacy group. As program director, Ford will lead efforts to support new teachers and promote educational opportunity for the impoverished students who often struggle. He will remain based in Charlotte.

Ford, the first Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools teacher to win the state title since 1970, spent the past year traveling North Carolina as an advocate for teachers.

“Over the past year ... James Ford distinguished himself as a powerful and authentic voice for North Carolina’s teachers and our public schools,” said Keith Poston, the Forum’s president and executive director. “In this new role, James will remain engaged with our schools, helping early-career teachers become better instructors in the classroom, and more effective leaders in their schools, communities and the state. In addition, James will help us develop an expanded focus on educational opportunity and equity, an area of growing importance as linkages between poverty and academic achievement become starker.”

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