Thursday, June 13, 2024

Gabriella Pieczynski, a junior at North High School in Davenport, Iowa, has been selected to represent Iowa at the prestigious National Educators Rising Conference in Washington D.C., June 28-July 1.

National Educators Rising Conference
Davenport North junior, Gabriella Pieczynski

The conference, which attracts top students from across the nation aspiring to become educators, will provide Pieczynski with a platform to engage with like-minded peers, participate in workshops, and gain insights from leading professionals in the field of education.

This experience was made possible, thanks to a $1.26 million U.S. Department of Education grant that the University of Iowa College of Education is using to help diversify the educator workforce. The college is focusing on starting young educators’ clubs as pathways into teacher education, creating opportunities like the fully funded trip for Pieczynski. 

Programming includes more than 40 breakout sessions, networking with other Education Rising members, keynote presentations, and competitive events designed to develop and showcase teaching skills. 

Pieczynski's selection is a testament to her passion for education as she plans to major in elementary music education or secondary social studies with a minor in special education in college.

"I have always been drawn to education even in kindergarten,” Pieczynski says. "I have always liked to help people understand things and complete tasks or work with their full potential. I have also had many phenomenal teachers over the years, and they really inspired me to want this as my future career."

The National Educators Rising Conference is organized by Educators Rising, a national organization dedicated to cultivating highly skilled educators by providing resources, support, and opportunities for professional development to aspiring teachers.

As Pieczynski prepares to embark on this experience, she remains grateful for the opportunity. She hopes to leverage the knowledge and inspiration gained from the conference to continue making a difference in the state of Iowa by sharing her experiences.

“Students from all five of our partner high schools for the grant were encouraged to apply to be a representative from Iowa at the national conference,” says Amira Nash, associate director of partnerships and programs at the Baker Teacher Leader Center in the UI College of Education. “We asked Educators Rising teacher leaders at the high schools to nominate no more than two students from their school to apply. The University of Iowa Educators Rising committee selected Gabriella as one of the member representatives.”