With a Ph.D. in special education and eight published scholarly articles under her belt, Dr. Danielle Ferreira was uniquely qualified to shine in her role as a TAP master teacher at Constitution Elementary School in Phoenix, Arizona at the time of her MEA. And shine she did! Raised in a family of educators, Ferreira went above and beyond for the practitioners in her school, even going to one of the new teacher's homes to work on lesson plans with her. Ferreira's master teacher role in TAP: The System for Teacher and Student Advancement allowed her to work closely with both faculty and pupils. As part of the school's TAP Leadership Team, she helped drive professional development and schoolwide achievement alongside the administrators and fellow master and mentor teachers. Ferreira also maintained direct ties to the students as a fixture in the classroom. She modeled lessons, team-taught, and helped field-test strategies with teachers and students. Findings were discussed in her weekly TAP “cluster” professional learning groups, and she facilitated honest conversations about what works and how everyone can perform better. As a result, teachers made appreciable gains. An added dimension to Ferreira's portfolio is her expertise with special education students, and her work with teachers on how to better serve this population strengthened instructional effectiveness and student learning. Student achievement at her school had been on the upswing for the past three years while Ferreira was there. According to Arizona's Instrument to Measure Standards (AIMS), the schoolwide percentage of kids proficient in math and reading had increased 13 percent each from 2010 to 2012. Ferreira's leadership in the profession—and in academia in general—cut a broad swath. For one, she played a major role in setting school goals and policies. She was a member of the district’s mentor co-teaching team, and had presented at the 2012 Annual National TAP Conference as well as various state-level conferences. At the university level, Ferreira educated undergraduate teacher candidates. Arizona State University had sought her out to help support other special-area teachers, and she always made herself available to peers seeking advice and support. Currently, Ferreira has broadened her ability to positively impact teachers and students at a national level by officially joining the National Institute for Excellence in Teaching (NIET) in June of 2013. As Senior Program Specialist Ferreira was tasked with being the Project Director for NIET’s 2010 Arkansas Teacher Incentive Fund (TIF) federal grant worth 8.6 million dollars. Within that grant, Ferreira worked within two Arkansas high need districts implement the TAP System district-wide. Through the TAP System, both school districts provide opportunities for multiple career paths, ongoing applied professional growth, instructionally focused accountability, and performance-based compensation (PBC). Incentives in the PBC are available to principals, assistant principals, teachers, and other school personnel. Both districts also evaluate teachers’ classroom and school-level performance through classroom observations and student growth data (i.e., classroom-level and school-wide valued-added scores). The districts evaluate principals’ performance through school-wide value-added scores, a principal leadership evaluation tool, and observation of practice. Both district Superintendents and School Boards have seen tremendous growth and are dedicated to sustaining the TAP System beyond the life of the grant. In March of 2014 Ferreira was also tasked with being a second Project Director of NIET’s 11.5 million dollar federal grant titled Supporting Effective Educator Development (SEED). The Planting the SEED Project represents a collaborative effort between NIET and the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College at Arizona State University (ASU) to create a pipeline for new teacher preparation. Now, ASU’s teacher preparation program starts with a rigorous recruitment process, proceeds to a reformed curriculum, and culminates in a year-long induction program during graduates’ first year of teaching. Finally, in May of 2015, Ferreira was promoted to senior cabinet within NIET to fill the title of Senior Director of Learning Technology. Ferreira will now be responsible for the management of the Web-based tools that support TAP educators, customers of NIET’s Best Practice Center, and customers within other NIET portals developed within their federal grants and private contracts across the nation. Specifically, she will lead the development and innovation for creating content and enhancing the user experience of NIET’s portals and applications.
Ph. D in Special Education