Power Up

September 7, 2023, Lancaster, Tx --Being a new teacher can indeed be overwhelming. Factor in a pandemic and the national teacher shortage, and that overwhelming feeling becomes even harder to manage. The urgency for support and resources can't be emphasized enough. Nevertheless, having someone there to help you on your journey can truly make a difference for a novice teacher. That's why in Lancaster ISD, a special group of educators have signed on to be the difference makers in the lives of some of the district's newest educators. 

The group, referred to as the Power Up Ambassadors, consists of retired educators with a wealth of knowledge and experience. The ambassadors’ sole mission is to support new educators in Lancaster ISD with less than three years of experience.

"It's good to be back," Valerie Gordon expressed as she attended the Power Up Ambassador orientation. "It's my passion, and I am doing something I love. The most fulfilling part is that I'm helping someone reach their full potential."

The Power Up Academy began in Lancaster ISD in the fall of 2022 as an innovative approach to address the teacher shortage. The district aimed to attract individuals passionate about teaching who hadn't yet earned their teaching certification. Simultaneously, the district also created the Power Up Ambassador mentorship program to support the newest educators joining Lancaster ISD.

Margo Spencer is a retired Lancaster ISD administrator and is the Power Up Ambassadors program manager. She views the program as a bridge to help ensure students receive the best education possible during a national teacher shortage and allow retired educators to do what they do best.

"It's always room for growth, and I love helping new educators grow," Spencer said. "You can see the growth, especially towards the end of the year. Knowing that you've helped them grow is something special, and they are very appreciative of the support, too."

The Power Ambassadors work part-time, actively observing new educators throughout the week. They support lesson planning, classroom management, and small group instruction, ensuring the correct implementation of everything from the classroom environment to social-emotional learning. The ambassadors are assigned to specific campuses based on their expertise and the district's needs. They also inspire their mentees by sharing effective teaching practices and empowering them to become certified educators. 

Marty Walter is a new Power Up Ambassador this year and is excited about her new role in Lancaster ISD.

 "It's very rewarding, and I think that's why I keep coming back. This is my 48th year in education," she said.

Returning Power Up Ambassador Brenda Cooper shared the same sentiments.

"My goal is to help the new educators become the type of teachers they are called to be," Cooper shared.

If you’re a retired teacher with a passion for education, consider being a Power Up Ambassador in Lancaster ISD. For more information on the Power Up Ambassador program, please email careers@lancasterisd.org.