Rodel Teacher Initiative

The Rodel Teacher Initiative recognizes teachers who are well-established in their field and pairs them with student teachers from Arizona colleges of education to learn the trade from the experts.

The Rodel Teacher Initiative is all about mentorship. Each year, Rodel identifies Rodel Exemplary Teachers for their achievements in high-need classrooms and asks them to “give back” by serving as mentors for future educators.

Rodel Promising Student Teachers are selected by Rodel as they embark on their student teaching field experience from colleges of education across Arizona, and are partnered with Rodel Exemplary Teacher mentors. Graduates then commit to teaching in high-need schools for at least three years after graduation. By incentivizing these new teachers to work at schools with the highest need, Rodel is addressing one of Arizona’s greatest challenges – providing great teachers for our least advantaged students.

These teachers are established in their field, have a track record of high student achievement, and serve as mentors in high-need Arizona schools.

These future educators are committed to learning the trade from expert mentors and teaching in Arizona communities with the highest need.

Participant Links

Everyone can remember a mentor who influenced their life. Whether it was on the field, in the classroom, or on the job, our mentors stay with us.
The Rodel Foundation of Arizona is committed to creating and fostering mentorship opportunities so Arizona’s future classroom teachers and school leaders are better prepared to support the ever-changing needs of children in Arizona.
Student Teachers Reunion w T Valdez

Frequently Asked Questions

How are Rodel Exemplary Teachers selected?

Each spring, principals in high-need Arizona schools are invited to nominate Rodel Exemplary Teachers. Rodel researchers review nomination materials and classroom data, then Rodel’s observation team interviews and observes the semifinalists. The most promising semifinalists are narrowed down to finalists, who are recognized with profiles and in a Rodel press release. From that group of finalists, Rodel selects the most promising mentor teachers and asks them to commit to training student teachers.

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How do I become a Rodel Promising Student Teacher?

In the semester prior to beginning your student teaching field experience, fill out an application packet and submit it through your Arizona college of education. For example, if your student teaching field experience will begin in the Fall, you will fill out an application in January of that calendar year. For Spring, the application materials will be available on our site in August. Talk to your advisor to find out if your program is eligible, or click the link below to find out if your college or university is part of the Rodel Teacher Initiative.

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What type of recognition do Rodel Exemplary Teachers receive?

In addition to the opportunity to “pay it forward” by mentoring future educators, Exemplary Teachers are recognized in local media outlets and in their school and community as exceptional educators and mentors.

Feedback from Rodel Promising Student Teachers

“I feel so blessed to be part of Rodel and to have had the experiences I did during student teaching. I have never felt so welcomed and supported in all of my schooling. Jennifer Silberschlag was absolutely amazing and has become a model to me of the kind of teacher and person I want to be. I feel that I can accomplish anything and make a difference in any classroom I teach.”

Hannah Flannery, 2010 Rodel Graduate
Hannah Jarvis

“The experience that I’ve had as a Rodel Promising Student Teacher was more than I could have possibly asked for. The mentor teacher that I was placed with was excellent–and any student teacher who has the chance to work with her is extremely lucky. I feel more prepared coming out of the Rodel program than I would from just the regular ASU program.”

Ryan Brandt, 2011 Rodel Graduate
Ryan Brandt

“I am very fortunate for the opportunity to work with not one, but two exemplary teachers in my teacher education training. Without their guidance I would not be nearly as prepared for my next venture in the field of education. I look forward to the next semester with even more training to come. I’m so thankful for the opportunity to grow as a teacher through this program!”

Amanda Donajkowski, 2012 Rodel Graduate
Amanda Donajkowski

Rodel Teacher Initiative Data


Rodel Exemplary


Rodel Promising
Student Teachers

  • 182 Arizona Teachers have been selected Rodel Exemplary Teachers.
  • Through Spring 2015, 692 Arizona college of education students have been mentored by Rodel Exemplary Teachers.
  • According to the most recent data available, 85% of the Rodel Graduates reported that they are teachers. Of the Rodel Graduates that have (a) completed their three-year commitment, and (b) continue in the teaching profession, 96% are teaching in high-need schools, in contrast to the national average of 50%.
  • According to the most recent data available, 82% of ALL Rodel Graduates reported that they are teaching in a high-need school even after completing their three-year commitment.

Rodel Teacher Initiative Leaders

Howard Paley

Chief Operating Officer

Mike Henderson

Director of Initiatives

Chelsea Carpenter

Assistant Director of Initiatives

College of Education Partners
Funding Partners