Meet Romain Bertrand: middle school math teacher and Opportunity Culture enthusiast. As this school year winds down, he’s already thoroughly looking forward to the next—when he will become a Multi-Classroom Leader at Ranson IB Middle School, taking accountability for the learning results of 700 students. At Ranson, a Project L.I.F.T. school in Charlotte, N.C., Bertrand sees the opportunities of its new Opportunity Culture—to extend the reach of excellent teachers to more students, for more pay, and develop other teachers—giving him and others exactly the sort of recognition and respect he says teachers now sorely lack.
Bertrand grew up in Avignon, in the south of France, the son of teachers who both went on to become principals. After teaching middle school math in France for five years, he came to the U.S. through the Chapel Hill, N.C.-based VIF International Education, which placed him in Charlotte, teaching seventh- and eighth-grade math for five years. “It became obvious after 10 years of teaching that I finally found my groove, and I saw that I could consistently get my students to enjoy math and become passionate about it, and to grow,” says Bertrand (relaxing at right with his children).