CBS special features Kuna teacher

Shelby Harris, a math teacher at Kuna Middle School, will be featured in a two-hour CBS television special next month.

The special, “Teach,” follows four teachers around the country for a year and documents the education system through their eyes. It will air Friday, Sept. 6. “Teach” was produced and directed by Academy Award winner Davis Guggenheim.

“We all have had a teacher who’s shaped us, inspired us, even scared us, and who we can credit with having empowered us to become who we are today,” said Jack Sussman, executive vice president of specials, music and live events for CBS Entertainment.  “This special celebrates those educators who, despite many hurdles and obstacles, aspire to bring inspiration to their students to succeed.”

“Teach” is Guggenheim’s third documentary on education in America, and focuses on the question, “What does it take to be a teacher?”

The documentary follows a diverse group of educators who use a variety of methods to teach different subjects and age groups. The documentary also profiles Matt Johnson, a fourth-grade teacher at McGlone Elementary School in Denver; Joel Laguna, a 10th-grade AP world history teacher at Garfield High in Los Angeles; and Lindsay Chinn, a ninth-grade algebra teacher at MLK Early College in Denver.

Harris was selected, in part, because she uses Khan Academy, a free-online learning tool.

“Teaching has been a great joy in my life for quite some time,” Harris says on her school website. “It’s wonderful to wake up each day and look forward to going to work.”

She is a valley native and graduated from Meridian High School in 1994. She graduated from the University of Idaho in 1998 and began teaching in Kuna in 2000. She has two children and her husband, Chadd, also is a teacher.

In December, Harris piloted the use of Chromebooks through a Khan Academy program funded by the J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Foundation.

Kuna Middle School recently received a grant of $891,200, the largest grant awarded from the State Department of Education’s $3 million technology pilot program. Kuna will use the money to provide Chromebooks to all of the school’s 800 students.

“I believe teachers are heroes and have the ability to make an incredible impact in the long-term future of our kids,” said Guggenheim, who is best known for documentaries such as “The First Year,” his first documentary about public school teachers, “Waiting for Superman” and the Academy Award-winning “An Inconvenient Truth,” as well as the television series “Deadwood,” “Numb3rs,” and “NYPD Blue.”

Disclaimer: Idaho Education News is funded by the J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Foundation.