Germaine Joseph-Hays, assistant principal of Corvallis High School, is one of 66 educators selected nationwide for the Fulbright Teachers for Global Classrooms Program.
Joseph-Hays was a science teacher at CHS for four years before moving into an administrative role. She applied for the fellowship when she was a teacher, and when she found out she was selected for the program on Aug. 4, she was worried that she would not be able to accept the award now that she is an administrator.
After speaking with CHS principal Matt Boring and reaching out to Fulbright to explain the situation, Joseph-Hays learned that she would be able to participate in the program because her role is still over 50% student-facing.
“It was kind of a delayed celebration,” she remembers. “I felt really excited.”
The Fulbright program is a yearlong learning opportunity for selected educators across the country to bring an international perspective back to their classrooms. There is an eight-week professional development course, a weekend seminar in Washington D.C. and a two- to three-week travel abroad experience so teachers can become immersed in another country’s education system.
Joseph-Hays hopes to forge partnerships with schools from wherever she ends up going so CHS students can benefit from that international connection. She said she especially wants to do this for marginalized students in the district.
“I want the Black and brown students here in Corvallis to know that they are part of the global majority,” she said. “Minority is applicable here, but not globally. I just want to show the students that Corvallis is great, but there’s a whole world out there.”
Joseph-Hays said that knowing there are different ways of being in the world can be really affirming and empowering.
In her application to the program, she put Africa as her first choice of place to travel to, and Southeast Asia as her second. She will not find out where she is going until spring 2022, and the trip will happen sometime between August and December 2022, depending on the COVID-19 situation.
Joseph-Hays is an immigrant from St. Lucia in the Caribbean Islands. She went to university and graduate school in Canada, where she met her American husband and moved to the states in 2008. She has lived in Oregon for the past five years.
Although she has much to balance with her family, new job and now this fellowship, Joseph-Hays said she knows she can do it all thanks to her background and support system.
“I’ve juggled a lot with immigration, school, being new to the country, everything over the last decade of my life,” she said. “I think this will be a short-term period of intensity for a long-term benefit to the school.”
Joanna Mann covers education for Mid-Valley Media. She can be contacted at 541-812-6076 or Joanna.Mann@lee.net. Follow her on Twitter via @joanna_mann_.