Courtney Rayburn

Senior Specialist, Arkansas

Courtney Rayburn, an NIET senior specialist working in West Tennessee and Arkansas, has over a decade of urban, rural, and suburban educational experiences including serving as a classroom teacher, instructional coach, testing coordinator, and RTI coordinator. Most recently, as a part of the educator effectiveness team at the Tennessee Department of Education, Courtney gained a deep understanding of the role evaluation and feedback plays in supporting strong instructional practices and student outcomes. In this role, she led projects such as evaluator certification and student growth portfolios.

Courtney has experience leading professional learning communities and professional development. She is committed to school reform and believes in supporting strong instructional practices by intentionally connecting communities of educators. She brings a relentlessly optimistic and tenacious passion for supporting equitable opportunities, expectations, and outcomes for all students.

Courtney earned a bachelor's degree in education from Tennessee State University and Master of Education in education policy from Vanderbilt University.

 Courtney   Rayburn

Who is your favorite teacher?

While I have had a plethora of phenomenal teachers cross my path, Ms. Jackson, my son's kindergarten teacher, is among my favorites. She remembers and connects to each and every one of her students for a lifetime. When we see her in public, she rushes to embrace my teenage son and calls him his childhood nickname. She has repeatedly expressed an interest in being present at his graduations, marriages, and births, and sends us a Christmas card every year. Her commitment to relationship-building and a positive culture and climate resonates in our community and her students maintain close, personal connections to one another long after they've left her classroom. Ms. Jackson is one of those teachers that leaves each person she encounters feeling unique, seen, and cared for, and inspires me to do the same.

What was your favorite subject in school and why?

In school, my favorite subject was, and still is, world languages. I took five years of French and many more of Spanish. I am invigorated by the process of learning something completely new from the ground up. Learning languages is simply fun, but it also provides an opportunity to delve intimately into world culture and explore a variety of disciplines through a new lens. Through language learning, I also study history, music, and literature, and have the opportunity to travel, connect, and build relationships.

What do you do in your free time?

In addition to world travel (I've been to 8 countries!) and spending time outdoors with my family, I am an avid cyclist. In a good week, I ride my bike over 150 miles and love nothing more than to be on the road on two wheels.