Collierville teacher receives national honors

Chad French, a 2003 graduate of Collierville High School and a Collierville native, has recently been named a Distinguished Teacher by the Noble Network of Charter Schools in Chicago, one of the leading public charter school systems in America.

A Collierville educator was recently rewarded for his work in the classroom.

The Noble Network of Charter Schools in Chicago recently announced its first 20 recipients of the newly created Distinguished Teacher program, including Chad French, a math teacher at Noble’s Golder College Prep.

French is a 2003 graduate of Collierville High School.

The Distinguished Teacher program provides an industry-changing approach to celebrating and rewarding teachers who are achieving an exceptional impact with students. Among other benefits, each Distinguished Teacher will receive $10,000 annually for as long as they remain teachers at Noble.

“While I feel being named a Distinguished Teacher is a point of pride and an acknowledgement of the years of work I've put into the craft of teaching, I also feel the title is a challenge to do more,” said French. “Being a Distinguished Teacher isn't just a plaque, it is a push to continue honing your skills and share what you've learned with others so that we can better serve the students of Noble.”

Since graduating from Collierville High School, French went on to attend the University of Mississippi, graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics before continuing his education at UM, also acquiring a Masters of Science in Mathematics while teaching freshman college courses there.

Afterward, French served as an adjunct fellow with Relay Graduate School of Education for two years. From there, French began his career at Golder College Prep. When he isn’t teaching, the Collierville native enjoys spending time with his wife, Kathryn, and daughter.

“Every year, thousands of great minds belonging to students from low socio-economic backgrounds are deprived of the academic nourishment they need to flourish to become the doctors, engineers and mathematicians of the next generation," he said. "Minds that could cure cancer, end poverty, send us to Mars, and move this world forward are simply not being given a chance. I serve Noble students to play a role in resolving this injustice and ultimately give students the opportunity they deserve to improve our society.

“From question writing, to planning, to students' ‘aha’ moments and even to grading," he continued, "I really enjoy all the aspects of this job. If you're asking me about the thing I love most though, I'd have to go with those moments when a student who thought they weren't a ‘math person’ absolutely crushes a solution in front of the class and beams with pride.”

French went on to call the process "quite possibly one of the most impactful development opportunities I've had in my teaching career."

“It really forces you to fully engage with your classroom practices and reflect on every nuance of your instruction. I was able to remind myself of strengths I need to continue leveraging while sincerely questioning my weaknesses and what I can do to diminish them," he said.

Ellen Metz, head of schools for Noble, added, “This program sets a new path in education that elevates the teaching profession. Distinguished Teachers will help inform teacher development and support across Noble. Too often the highest impact teachers feel compelled to exit the classroom."

Distinguished Teachers must be in at least their fourth year teaching at Noble, having exemplified traits in five key areas:

● Student Growth: Are your students achieving exceptional growth?

● Classroom Culture: In what ways have you created a strong classroom in which students feel invested, empowered, and connected?

● Instructional Rigor: In what ways does your classroom culture, planning, and instruction push students’ cognitive lift, quality responses, and intentional use of time?

● Inclusion and Relevance: How is your classroom inclusive of and/or relevant to the students that you serve?

● Extended Impact: How have you directly impacted your school, the community it serves, and/or our network outside of your classroom?

“Said in the simplest way, Distinguished Teacher is a program designed to identify, celebrate, reward, and learn from Noble’s most impactful educators,” said Constance Jones, CEO of Noble. “Part of our mission at Noble calls for creative classroom spaces that are transformational and empower students to lead exemplary lives. To this end, we invested years in research seeking the best ways to honor and reward teachers who have consistently achieved exceptional outcomes for our young people.”