What is Teachers in Their Power?

Teachers in Their Power is a storytelling project focused on changing the narrative about the teaching profession. The stories are typically shared as a combination of portraits + interviews, so it’s sometimes described as “Humans of New York for teachers.” You can read more about the project on the About page.

What does “Teachers in Their Power” mean?

The title of the project, Teachers in Their Power, refers to the expression “stand in your power.” To stand in your power means to confidently embrace and express your authentic self. It’s about recognizing your unique abilities and using them to create positive change in your life and the world around you.

“Teachers in Their Power” refers to teachers standing in their strength and speaking their truth. The project encourages teachers to share their stories with courage, vulnerability, and conviction.

Teachers in Their Power focuses on current PreK-12 teachers, especially those who plan to stay in the profession.

When nominating a teacher, people are asked to consider whether the teacher:

  • Teaches authentically
  • Speaks the truth
  • Is committed to growth as a teacher
  • Impacts students’ lives for the better
  • Can help people better understand the value of teaching as a profession

Although it’s an honor to be nominated, Teachers in Their Power is not an award or a competition. It’s a storytelling project. You don’t need to be perfect for your voice to matter. The project highlights teachers as humans, not heroes, and aims to feature a cross-section of powerful teachers across the United States. I select who to interview based on all kinds of factors, including whether or not I’m able to travel to that teacher’s location or meet with other teachers at the same time.

As a social media endeavor, Teachers in Their Power stands out: a quick scroll through the Top 150 Teacher Instagram Influencers reveals a lack of diversity in the internet’s most-followed teacher content. What I’ve found is that often the teachers who are most likely to have insights and stories to contribute are the ones least likely to publish them; as a rule, self-promotion is not part of the culture of teaching. By receiving nominations from across the country, I’m able to track down and interview teachers from a wide variety of cultures, races, religions, genders, and years of experience.

Does this project have a political or religious affiliation?


The project is not affiliated with a political party and intentionally aims to bridge divides in conversations around teaching and learning.

Individual teachers sometimes share their personal views as part of their story, such as legislation relevant to their experiences or how their faith got them through a difficult time. Many teachers choose to speak to issues related to equity and human rights within their personal stories.

What does it mean that the project is fiscally sponsored by Fractured Atlas?

Fiscal sponsorship is a contractual relationship between a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and a group or individual whose activities fall within the sponsoring organization’s mission. This relationship enables the 501(c)(3) — in this case, Fractured Atlas — to extend certain benefits of being a nonprofit to Teachers in Their Power.

Fractured Atlas’s mission is to make the journey from inspiration to living practice more accessible and equitable for artists and creatives. As a storytelling project, Teachers in Their Power aligns to that mission.

Fractured Atlas is committed to anti-oppression principles. You can read the Fractured Atlas Anti-Racism and Anti-Oppression Community Guidelines here and the Donor FAQ here.

Who is behind the project?

Hi, I’m Kat. 👋 Here’s a bio, for those who like that kind of thing:

Kat Clark was a senior manager on Apple’s K-12 education team before leaving to elevate teachers’ voices. She currently travels around the country photographing, interviewing, and recording teachers for Teachers in Their Power.

Kat grew up in Racine, Wisconsin. In high school, she spent her summers working at a camp for students with developmental disabilities. She was the State Outreach Coordinator for STAND, a youth-led movement to end mass atrocities. In college, she received a grant to volunteer at a children’s home in Kenya, where she helped establish a neighborhood school and learned about complex roadblocks to education, including systemic sexual abuse. Back in the U.S., she joined the Chicago Taskforce on Violence Against Girls & Young Women, and the media toolkit she designed was featured by Al Jazeera as an example of how to report on sexual violence. Kat majored in art with a focus on photography, and her first job out of college was working in museum education at the Art Institute of Chicago. After applying to teach at a number of schools, she was offered a job that combined teaching with marketing communications.

While working at schools, Kat fell in love with visiting classrooms of all different grade levels. She served on the administration of four schools in three states (including Khan Academy’s) and became a founding member of the Young Leaders Board at Aim High, a tuition-free summer program for low-income students. She helped establish Red Bridge, a school focused on student ownership and independence, and created classes for children at Mighty Writers in West Philadelphia.

As the first marketing hire at Landed, Kat helped teachers buy homes in expensive cities. At Apple, she pitched and launched Apple Learning Coach — a free professional learning program that trains instructional coaches, digital learning specialists, and other coaching educators to help teachers get more out of technology. She led development of the learning experience design as well as the marketing strategy and built out the program with a talented team. While at Apple, Kat earned her MBA from Berkeley Haas, where she was a Diversity Scholar and the class’s commencement speaker.

Teachers in Their Power allows Kat to use marketing to promote teachers’ perspectives and help change the narrative about the teaching profession. As of fall 2023, her day job is helping students find purpose and belonging at Wayfinder. You can reach out to her here!

Introducing Education Storytelling Intern Vivian Llanes

Vivian Llanes

As of April 2024, Vivian Llanes has joined the Teachers in Their Power project as an undergraduate intern from Georgetown University. Vivian previously interned for Education Week, the U.S. Senate, and the U.S. House of Representatives. She planned English lessons for immigrant students at high-need public schools as part of the DC Schools Project, and she served as a student teaching aid for Cardozo High School in DC Public Schools. She is a Research Assistant for Professor Marisa O. Ensor at the Georgetown University Center for Social Justice Research, Teaching & Service. Kat is grateful to have Vivian working with her to wade through transcripts and elevate teachers’ stories.

Alongside dozens of teachers, project advisors include:

Ogechi Irondi, Education Policy
Becca Krasner, Learning Experience Design
Tasha Lewis, Art and Making

Why do you do this?

“It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.”

Frederick Douglass

There is profound magic in the classroom of a powerful teacher: deep listening and commitment to growth. A strong teacher tends toward healing: they see a rupture within a child, or within a relationship, and they recognize the opportunity to guide a child toward wholeness.

I have seen this soulwork in action many times, and I’m committed to cultivating it.

I measure my life by this magic.