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Meet the Arkansas teacher who mentors others on how to be successful in the classroom

Courtney Burdick is the only lead apprentice mentor teacher in Arkansas and has devoted her career to helping teachers succeed.

FORT SMITH, Ark. — Courtney Burdick is a Greenwood native in her sixth year as a third-grade teacher at Spradling Elementary School in Fort Smith. What makes her unique is that she's the only lead apprentice mentor teacher in Arkansas and has devoted her career to teaching teachers how to teach! 

She told 5NEWS that she sees her job as a way to improve student achievement through better teachers. 

"You have transformed a teacher who then can transform multiple kids, and on and on and on. It's almost as if I'm helping guarantee success for more students later on," she said. 

Burdick is allowed to travel around the state to mentor teachers. She says her biggest goal is to keep teachers in the classroom. 

"I get to see teachers want to stay in the profession because we have a no-fail mentality," she said. "I will not let them fail. And if they fail, I fail. And I don't want us to fail. I want us all to be successful." 

And in seeing that success, Burdick says she wouldn't want to do anything else. 

"If you have ever considered being a teacher, it is a lot of work, but it is one of the most rewarding professions I've ever been in," she said. "It's not about the money, but it's about those kids." 

To go along with what she does to mentor teachers, Burdick was a big part of Spradling School being designated a high-reliability school. Educators use the program to gauge their success using several factors, including getting input from parents and students. 

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