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TNTP Re-imagine Teaching

About Shira Fishman

The Fishman Prize is named after Shira Fishman, an exceptional TNTP-trained math teacher in DC Public Schools.

A former mechanical engineer, Shira Fishman always excelled at math and science. But it wasn’t until a summer coaching job that she found her true passion: teaching and mentoring students. “I realized in that one hour a week when I was coaching the basketball team, I was making an impact in a way that I hadn’t felt as an engineer,” said Shira. In 2004, she decided to leave behind her engineering career and join TNTP’s highly selective DC Teaching Fellows program. She taught at Hine Junior High School for three years before moving to McKinley Technology High School in 2007.

Now entering her twelfth year in the classroom, Shira teaches calculus and geometry, leads McKinley’s math department and serves as a mentor to newer teachers. Her significant contributions have helped earn McKinley the prestigious distinction as a National Blue Ribbon School and lead students to top scores on the DC-CAS (the statewide assessment before PARCC). During the 2012-2013 and 2013-2014 school years, McKinley students earned 91 percent proficient/advanced ratings and 93 percent proficient/advanced ratings, respectively.

In 2011, Shira was named the DCPS Teacher of the Year and was one of 40 teachers nationwide to win a Milken Educator Award. Despite all of her impressive accolades, she is insatiable in improving her practice. “You become great when you are never done learning and you’re never done being a good teacher,” she says. “You’re constantly reaching out and finding new ways to get better.”