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First lady to help highlight teaching fellowships

Laura Bush
Mrs. Bush is presented with a bouquet from a young girl, while attending D.C. Teaching Fellows, a new initiative to promote careers in teaching.  

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Laura Bush will make her first solo appearance as first lady Thursday at the launch of a new program in the nation's capital designed to encourage professionals to become teachers

The first lady will join Washington Mayor Anthony Williams and Dr. Paul Vance, D.C. public schools superintendent, at an educational center in southeast Washington to highlight the initiative called "D.C. Teaching Fellows."

The program hopes to attract 100 of the "area's most outstanding young and mid-career professionals to commit to two years" of teaching in the D.C. public school system and "positively affect the lives of students," according to a news release.

Candidates, who must hold a bachelor's degree, would be trained at a summer institute and would receive some financial incentives and stipends. The fellows would be expected to complete the necessary coursework to obtain a teacher's certification or a master's degree in education during their two-year commitment.

The program launch will mark the first time Mrs. Bush has appeared at an event in the role of first lady without her husband since the Bushes arrived at the White House, Rodriquez said.

Mrs. Bush, who is a former teacher and school librarian, will make her "formal" debut Monday as first lady, Rodriquez said, unveiling the education initiatives she will work on at the White House.

The initiatives will "parrot" what the president is advocating, said Rodriquez, who declined to provide any more details.

As the first lady of Texas, Mrs. Bush pushed for funding for early reading programs for children and also helped create literacy programs throughout the state.

Rodriquez said while Mrs. Bush does not have "executive power," she is "certainly able to use the bully pulpit" to get more people involved in education.

During her first week as first lady, Mrs. Bush joined the president at events in the White House and at an elementary school in Washington, where he unveiled his education reform plan.

For the first two weeks of February, the first lady was in Texas, overseeing the finishing touches on the couple's new home on their 1,600-acre ranch in the rural town of Crawford.

Mrs. Bush joined her husband Monday in Oklahoma City at the dedication of a museum focused on the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, then traveled with the president Tuesday to schools in Ohio and Missouri to campaign for his education plans.



RELATED STORIES:
President and first lady welcome visitors to the 'people's house' (January 21, 2001)
Bush begins term with eye on the classroom (January 22, 2001)

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