An Interview with Mary Tedrow

Category: Teacher Leadership, Video

VIDEO: At the 2012 Language and Learning Conference Mary Tedrow, NVWP Co-Director and Director of the NVWP Shenandoah Valley Satellite, sat down with our friends at Synthesis Multimedia to talk about the Writing Project.  All of us at the NVWP deeply appreciate Mary’s passion, intelligence, and commitment to students and teachers.

Mary currently teaches Advanced Placement Literature and Composition 12, English 11, and Creative Writing at John Handley High School in Winchester, Virginia. She has been a teacher of English since 1978. Her career covers grades 9-12 ranging from self-contained special ed. to advanced placement students.  Mary has a Masters in Education, Emphasis in Teaching, from Shenandoah University and a B.A. in English and Journalism from Shepherd University.  Her certifications include National Board Certification in Adolescent and Young Adult English Language Arts, a post-graduate professional teaching license and is a Certified Journalism Educator.

Mary has been a Co-Director of the NVWP since 2005, and in an effort to keep the work of the Project within easy access of every teacher in the areas she has served as the Director of the Shenandoah Valley Summer Institute.  Mary’s’s association with NVWP began in 1981 with a 695 class, but expanded after becoming a TC in 1998 and a 695 coordinator in 1999.  The transformation in her teaching led to the honor of Frederick County District Teacher of the Year in 2001. That recognition has opened up other opportunities including work with the Teacher Leaders Network of the Center for Teaching Quality and serving as a Commissioner on the NEA Commission on Effective Teachers and Teaching, 2010-2011.

Mary says that all she learns in the policy arena only reinforces the philosophy of the Writing Project: Teachers are the best teachers of teachers. They have the expertise to meld the world of the theoretical with the world of the practical.  Our knowledge of pedagogy and students is the true hope of reform in American education. Throughout her career Mary has also been a freelance writer. For six years she combined her teacher knowledge with writing and wrote Reading Connections Intermediate, a national monthly newsletter for parents of middle-school students.  In the years she was home with her three children, she wrote advertising copy, edited dissertations, and worked as a part-time newscaster for WINC, a local radio station.  All of these real-world writing experiences find their way into the classroom. Currently, her writing focuses on education policy.  Mary maintains a blog at walkingtoschool.blogspot.comand is an occasional contributor to Teacher Magazine and The Answer Sheet.  Her current writing project is a personal challenge: a YA novel in the fantasy arena.

Thanks to a $700,000 donation from J.J. and Kaye Smith, on November 8th, 2011 Mary was named the first James Porterfield Endowed Chair for Winchester County Schools.  For more on this story visit:

Follow Mary’s blog at or follow her on twitter!/mtedrow

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The mission of the Northern Virginia Writing Project is to improve writing instruction, writing practice, and learning at all educational levels; to develop teacher leaders across the disciplines and elevate their professional standing; and to provide support for young writers and their families.

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