FOR EDUCATORS, BY EDUCATORS
WE ARE LIKE YOU! From our Executive Director to our advisory board officers, we are all professional educators still working with classrooms of our own. It is more than a job to us. It is a higher calling and a passion to do what we do best - teach ALL students, regardless of origin or background.
WE FOCUS ON BEST PRACTICES! As teachers we concentrate on innovative and vibrant instruction that works best for our students. Therefore, as dedicated professionals, we should be free from excessive interference so we can put the lion's share of our energy into the classroom, and into the hearts and minds of students.
WE ARE DISGRUNTLED BY THE GROWING NUMBER OF INFLUENCES THAT DIVERT US FROM TEACHING OUR STUDENTS! We believe the time has come to stop politicizing education, and return the focus to the classroom where it belongs. Our nonpartisan mission is to advance changes that will better empower K-12 teachers to assist students of all backgrounds, and build the schools of tomorrow for our next generation of Americans.
WE WERE CREATED TO GIVE TEACHERS A CHOICE! All teachers need liability protection and professional support, but it can be much less expensive than what the "for profit" organizations offer. To accomplish this, we keep our dues money right here in our local buildings, chapters, and districts - all in the State of Texas - and do not send funds to national union organizations who do not hold our values or know our needs. Instead, our money is spent by fiscally responsible people who are accountable for solving their own problems. Therefore, we can still offer strong coverage, but at about 30% less than our closest competitor. However, we do have a cadre of attorneys specially trained in school law who are a phone call away, and will be responsive to any questions you have.
WE BELIEVE IN PROFESSIONAL EXCELLENCE ABOVE ALL! Our Oath of Excellence to achieve meaningful and lasting K-12 improvements reads as follows:
ITT’s Oath of Excellence
I hereby commit to fulfill according to my best ability and judgment this oath and this covenant: I will provide exemplary academic instruction and guidance for all students according to their needs, and I will do so only for the good of each student. I will always strive to keep them from harm and injustice. I will always act in the best interest of their successes, based upon my very best bias-free judgment.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Jennifer Winter Zimmerman, Board Chair, Executive Director
Jennifer earned a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish from Western Washington University and a Master of Arts in Educational Administration from Seattle University. She taught Spanish in both public and private schools in Washington State for 11 years. She taught in Oakland, Calif., for two years where she brought baby animals for the students to care for and foster and as a result her students improved their test scores by an average of 47%. After 13 years of teaching, Jennifer took a break from her career in teaching and got married. Together, she and her husband have one son. Jennifer is thrilled to be back in the classroom teaching Spanish at her son's preschool. Jennifer enjoys supporting her husband's political career, raising their son, building relationships within the community, and supporting teachers who are responsible for the most fundamental task of education in America: nurturing the future citizens of America.
Melissa Martin, Board Member, Treasurer
Melissa is a career and technology teacher for the Deer Park Independent School District. She is an advisor for the Family Career and Community Leaders of America, and a former advisor for the Texas Association of Future Educators. She was previously appointed to the Texas Commission on Public School Finance, and she currently serves as a board member for the Texas Juvenile Justice Department at the request and pleasure of Governor Greg Abbot. Martin received a Bachelor of Science in family and consumer science and a Master of Education in education administration from Lamar University.
Caryl Ayala, Board Member, Secretary
Caryl has been teaching young elementary school aged children for 20 years. She is passionate about her students and also the families of her students. She has built strong and trusting relationships with them. She is the Director of Concerned Parents of Texas and ITT is fortunate to have her on its board too. She is also a Family Life Ministry Coordinator at Oak Meadow Baptist Church in Austin Texas. She is married to Jorge Ayala. Together they have 2 married sons and one grandson.
Dr. Kenneth Poppe, University Education Liaison
“Ken” is an instructor, recruiter, and doctoral writing coach at Southern Nazarene University. He teaches bachelors and masters classes in "Foundations," "Classroom Management," and "Education Psychology," and believes these 100% online accelerated classes at SNU are a PERFECT for ITT members who want to advance their professionalism and pay grade. Ken retired in 2018 with over 30 years as a public-school science and math teacher, and through his work with graduate students (and his art teacher wife Melba!), he keeps his finger on the “pulse” of what is currently happening in education. Therefore, he knows the necessity of teaching with innovation, energy, flexibility, relevance, individualization, and humor - even at the university level. He has also supported the philosophies of professional organizations instead of unions all through his varied career (teacher, professor, administrator, author, consultant, statewide CDE field rep. etc.), and was ATPE’s “Texas Secondary Educator of the Year” (Austin, 2016). Ken is excited about the growth potential of a conservative organization like ITT, and feels it fills an absolutely invaluable niche in the increasingly troubled landscape of American education.