What Rodel Exemplary Teachers Do

Spring 2015 RPST Intro SeminarExemplary Teachers mentor student teachers over an average of four semesters and participate in Rodel-led mentorship seminars that help them develop relationships with their Promising Student Teacher mentees. During each student teacher’s field experience, Exemplary Teachers are asked to model effective teaching practices and share their knowledge of curriculum, instructional strategies, and classroom management skills. Arizona students in Exemplary Teachers’ classrooms achieve at a high level on state-mandated assessments, and studies have shown that this also holds true for the students in Exemplary Teacher mentee (Rodel Graduate) classrooms.

Rodel Exemplary Teacher Perks

A Rodel Exemplary Teacher has the unique opportunity of “paying it forward” by training the next generation of effective teachers. They do so with the support and guidance of Rodel, and have the opportunity to work alongside Rodel staff as they hone their mentorship skills, which can have a significant positive impact on the teachers they work with on their campuses. Upon being selected, an Exemplary Teacher brings positive recognition to his or her classroom, school, and district. Exemplary Teachers also receive a financial award as a part of their recognition.

Click on the images to view the profiles for the 2016 Rodel Exemplary Teachers.

How Rodel Exemplary Teachers Are Selected

  • Researchers at Rodel review the last three years of school- and grade-level student achievement data for teachers in high-need schools who have a minimum of 70 percent of their students receiving Free or Reduced Lunch.  Researchers identify teachers whose levels of student achievement are consistently well above norms.  This screening typically results in several hundred potential candidates.
  • The Rodel Selection Committee contacts principals of potential candidates and encourages them to nominate their very best teachers.
  • Principal nominations are reviewed and achievement data is correlated to data released by the Arizona Department of Education.
  • Rodel researchers evaluate the candidates and narrow the field to a prestigious group of semifinalists. Classroom observations and interviews are arranged with these semifinalists to look for evidence of effective teaching practices and mentorship capability.
  • The Rodel Selection Committee narrows the field of educators to a group of finalists.
  • From these finalists, the Committee determines which teachers will be recognized as Rodel Exemplary Teachers and asked to mentor future educators.
  • Each cohort of Rodel Exemplary Teachers is announced in November when they are recognized through Rodel and our media partners for their dedication to Arizona’s public school system.

Professional Development Expectations

Each Exemplary Teacher will be required to attend training seminars prior to beginning their mentorship. These trainings will focus on: Orientation to Mentorship; Effective Feedback; Ensuring Student Learning while Guiding a Student Teacher; Developing Growth Plans; and Maintaining the Network of Early Career and Experienced Educators.

There will be two trainings prior to accepting a Rodel Promising Student Teacher and an additional introductory seminar prior to each semester they are assigned a Rodel Promising Student Teacher.

Program Timeline – 2016 Rodel Exemplary Teachers

Click on the month tabs below for detailed information about the nomination and selection timeline for Rodel Exemplary Teacher candidates.

May 2015

  • Nomination materials for Rodel Exemplary Teachers are solicited via email to superintendents and principals of Rodel-identified districts and schools.

June 2015

  • Deadline for submitting Rodel Exemplary Teacher nominations and data to Rodel.

July - August 2015

  • Rodel evaluates teacher-level data collected during the nomination process and from the Arizona Department of Education.

September - October 2015

  • Rodel notifies Semifinalists and their principals that they will receive a site visit and interview with the observation team.
  • Rodel Exemplary Teacher Semifinalist site visits and interviews take place.

November 2015

  • Finalists are notified of their status and are asked to complete Finalist Profiles to be submitted to Rodel.
  • Finalists are invited to a reception and/or are contacted for interviews with their local news organization.
  • Rodel’s Finalist profiles and press release are distributed.
  • Rodel Exemplary Teachers are announced over Thanksgiving weekend.

January 2016

  • Rodel Exemplary Teacher Orientation Seminar takes place.

April and November 2016

  • Rodel Exemplary Teachers meet their Rodel Promising Student Teacher mentees at the Introductory Seminar.

May 2016

  • Newly named Rodel Exemplary Teachers will be recognized at the Celebration of Excellence Awards Event.

Why We Need Teacher Mentors

The purpose of our schools and classrooms is to guide students to reach their highest potential achievement. Our best chance of ensuring the success of our students is to ensure that our teachers are efficient and effective from day one. Student achievement gains are influenced by a student’s assigned teacher to a greater degree than other factors like class size and class composition[1]. Effective teachers produce better achievement regardless of which curriculum materials, pedagogical approach, or reading program is selected[2]. The bottom line is: good teachers make the difference.

By providing our student teachers with the highest quality early experiences, we will increase the number of teachers who enter the profession as effective teachers.Today’s teachers are coming from a slightly different mold than teachers in the past. This is because students are cut from a different mold. With information readily available via the internet, students are able to access information immediately. Technological advances are moving students ahead at an unbelievable pace. The art of teaching has never been more challenging. Students are no longer content to sit in chairs and listen intently to knowledge being poured out by a highly educated teacher. As we consider the challenging problems of today’s educators–student family life, technology, rigorous curriculum or social interaction–we must realize that the real test of teaching skills rests in the ability to assess students’ knowledge levels and willingness to understand the applications of that knowledge. By providing our student teachers with the highest quality early experiences, we will increase the number of teachers who enter the profession as effective teachers. The student teaching experience has long been the bridge between theory and practice. Teaching is a practice profession and one must have the best models for practice in order to understand and develop at the highest levels. The key to this being an effective experience is providing the very best mentors.

The Council for Accreditation of Educator Preparation recently published their draft of recommendations. Standard Two states that, “effective partnerships and high-quality clinical practice are central to preparation so that candidates develop the knowledge, skills, and dispositions necessary to demonstrate positive impact on all P-12 students’ learning.” *

The highest quality clinical experiences (student teaching) are in classrooms in which the cooperating teacher has been vetted and trained to provide the necessary support to student teacher candidates. A 2010 NCATE study shares that, “high quality clinical experiences as ones in which … candidate supervision and mentoring by certified clinical educators—drawn from discipline-specific, pedagogical, and P-12 professionals—who are trained to work with and provide feedback to candidates.” **With the support system comprised of Rodel professional learning opportunities and access to a strong network of educator mentors, Rodel Graduates and Rodel Aspiring Principals acquire the skills necessary to guide Arizona students toward high achievement.

Rodel has been training teachers since the pilot of the MAC-Ro Math Initiative in 2003. Evaluations, interviews, and survey results demonstrate the value these professional learning opportunities have had and their positive impact on the teaching of math. Rodel’s professional learning opportunities expanded with the development of the Teacher Initiative in 2004, with a focus on mentorship and training in effective teaching practices for all early career educators. In 2008, Rodel began the Principal Initiative to expand professional learning beyond the classroom, with a focus on leadership trainings and mentorship for site administrators. As these initiatives grew, Rodel observed the success early career educators and site leaders were having. With the support system comprised of Rodel professional learning opportunities and access to a strong network of educator mentors, Rodel Graduates and Rodel Aspiring Principals acquire the skills necessary to guide Arizona students toward high achievement.


[1], [2] Darling-Hammond, L., & Youngs, P. (2002). Defining “highly qualified teachers”: What does scientifically-based research actually tell us? Educational Researcher, 31(9), 13–25.