Connecticut Teacher Named Director of World Wise Schools
August 14, 1998Washington, D.C., August 14, 1998—Peace Corps Director Mark Gearan has named Betsi Shays of Stamford, Conn., as Director of the agency's World Wise Schools program. "Betsi's professional accomplishments following her volunteer service exemplify the finest traditions of talented Americans first drawn to public service through the Peace Corps," said Gearan. "She brings a wealth of experience to this challenging job and will provide excellent leadership to our World Wise Schools program."
Shays has had 27 years of teaching experience, working in grades from one to 10 in both public and private schools. She holds two master's degrees from Columbia University in New York City.
Thirty years ago she and her husband, U.S. Rep. Christopher Shays, R-Conn., made the trip to Washington, D.C., from Connecticut to join the Peace Corps. They were accepted and served for two years in Fiji.
Now, she said she finds it extraordinary that she has made the trip from Connecticut once again to be a part of the Peace Corps.
"The students who participate in the World Wise Schools program will gain a global perspective that will prove to be essential in the 21st century," she said.
World Wise Schools is the Peace Corps' ongoing global education program, which broadens the geographic and cultural horizons of U.S. students through the overseas experience of currently-serving and returned Peace Corps volunteers. Today, there are more than 4,500 teachers in the United States who participate in the program, and the Peace Corps hopes to increase that number significantly in the next few years.
More than one million U.S. students have participated in the program since it was founded in 1989 by then-Peace Corps Director Paul Coverdell, now a U.S. Senator from Georgia. Through correspondence with current Peace Corps volunteers, classroom visits by returned volunteers, award-winning videos, study guides, and other educational materials, the World Wise Schools program teaches students about the people and cultures of other countries. It also exposes young Americans to positive role models who have engaged in public service as Peace Corps volunteers.