About Us

MISSION, VISION, AND GOALS

Mission

The mission of the Teacher Residency Program is to provide college graduates with an alternate route to elementary certification based on a residency model that focuses on recruiting, preparing and retaining teachers of color in elementary schools in Connecticut.

Vision

We prepare quality teacher candidates to create opportunities for all children and transform schools to be diverse and inclusive environments.

Core Values

  • Expect Excellence
  • Demand Equity
  • Act with Courage
  • Embrace Collaboration
FIVE YEAR GOALS
  1. Support statewide teacher shortage and MTR goals by annually increasing the number of teachers of color by 15 teachers per site.

  2. To add quality certification pathways that minimizes barriers and maximizes success in 2 additional endorsement areas.

  3. To make a significant contribution to the CSDE state goal by expanding programming to 7 additional sites in Connecticut. 

  4. To secure state, district and private funding to support fidelity of the residency model and commitment to teachers of color. 

  5. To secure a university partner or status to provide residents a pathway with earned credit towards a Masters degree. 

OUR LEADERSHIP

Marlene Megos

Marlene leads TRP with passion, drive and optimism through planning, partnerships, fundraising and policy work. She co-led the committee that developed TRP in 2017 for CREC Magnet Schools. As a child and throughout her career, she recognized the teaching population was largely white. Today, she commits to changing who is teaching our children through support, quality training and building inclusive communities. Marlene has a B.S. in mathematics from CCSU, a M.A. from Wesleyan University, and a Sixth-Year in Administration from Sacred Heart University. Marlene currently lives in Stratford with her partner and twin daughters Morgan and Avery.

mmegos@crec.org

Ushawnda Mitchell

Ushawnda Mitchell, Managing Director of the CREC Teacher Residency Program, earned her bachelor’s at Bay Path College, a Masters of Education in Reading and Language Arts from the University of Saint Joseph and a Sixth Year Certificate in Educational Leadership at Central Connecticut State University. She served as a classroom teacher for fifteen years and has over twenty years of experience in the field of education. Ushawnda is passionate about diversifying the teaching workforce so that students of different races and ethnic groups are able to see people who look like them in front of their classrooms.
 
umitchell@crec.org

Violet Jiménez Sims, Ed.D.

Dr. Violet Jiménez Sims is the Managing Director of Academic Programming for the CT Teacher Residency Program. Dr. Sims has worked in every level of education from Pre-K through university public settings for twenty years. She has held roles as clinical faculty, academic advisor, Spanish and ESOL teacher, public school and university administrator, and led professional development as a consultant. Her professional interests and areas of expertise include dual language education models, bilingualism and biliteracy, teacher preparation, and creating culturally and linguistically sustaining spaces.

vsims@crec.org
OUR PROGRAM COACHES AND COORDINATOR

Summer Myles

Summer Myles, Teacher Residency Program Resident Coach, takes pride in utilizing her knowledge and experience to fully educate herself and expand her thinking which allows her to educate others.  Summer understands that having diverse teachers in the classroom and learning community will prepare students as well as other staff to address and embrace the diversity that exist in the world and workforce that they live in.  Summer earned her Bachelors in University Studies and a Masters of Education in Elementary Education from the University of Hartford.  She went on to earn her sixth-year certificate in Leadership and Administration from Central Connecticut State University.

smyles@crec.org

Brianne Shea

Brianne Shea is the Program Coach for the Connecticut Teacher Residency Program. Brianne has taught grades K, 1, 2, 4, 5 and 6 across many geographic regions in Connecticut over the past nineteen years. Her educational experience spans roles such as classroom teacher, mentor teacher, collaborative team teacher, team leader, curriculum writer and provider of professional development. She holds both an 013 and 092 certification in Connecticut. Her professional area of interest is presently hiring, retention and support of marginalized communities within educational spaces – the area of her current doctoral research.

bshea@crec.org

Kennedy Briscoe

Kennedy Briscoe is the Operations Coordinator for the Connecticut Teacher Residency Program. Prior to joining TRP, she graduated from the University of Connecticut with her Bachelors in Communication and a minor in Business Entrepreneurship. Kennedy was inducted into her school’s honor society, leadership committee, and graduated with honors in the top 15% of her class. Kennedy’s core values align with that of TRP and its mission. She is enthusiastic about seeing more teachers of color in the classroom succeed and inspire the next generation. 

 

kbriscoe@crec.org

HISTORY

In 2017, CREC recognized that: 

In Connecticut 42% of students were children of color but only 8% of educators were teachers of color

Research shows the impact of teachers of color in the classroom includes reduced dropout rates, improved college admissions, and achievement gains for all students

The Connecticut Department of Education’s Minority Teacher Recruitment Task Force set a goal to hire 1,000 black and LatinX teachers and school leaders before 2021.

In CREC schools, 79.95% of students are children of color and/or Hispanic/Latino, while only 13.5% of CREC educators are teachers of color and/or Hispanic/LatinX

The Connecticut Teacher Residency Program advocates for social justice, equity and antiracism for marginalized populations. Using a social justice lens, we reflect on current challenges facing the lives of individuals, families and communities and examine ways to advocate for needed changes. We promote equity by making sure students of different races and ethnic groups are able to see examples of people of their race and community around them in the classroom. TRP recruits, trains and retains teachers of color and collaborates with all stakeholders in our organization to invest in interrupting racism, bigotry, and prejudice whenever encountered. Our goal around anti-racism is to actively change policies, behaviors, and beliefs that perpetuate racist ideas and actions. As we train the next generation of educators, we recognize and are working to disrupt the systemic and institutional inequities when it comes to diversifying the teacher workforce and the significant barriers for the people and communities that we serve.

 

After piloting this program in 2019, CT TRP joined with the RESC Alliance to create a statewide solution to meet the broader needs of Connecticut’s districts. Today, through a deliberate partnership with the RESCs and districts, we are prepared to change the quality, experience and diversity of our teachers.   

Capitol Region Education Council (CREC) Magnet Schools is an intentionally diverse social justice organization whose members work to acknowledge, respect, and empathize with people of all different identifiers, such as race, socioeconomic status, gender identity and expression, education, age, ability, ethnicity, culture, sexual orientation, language, nationality, and religion. 

RESEARCH
Download executive summary

Research supports that Increasing Diversity: 

  • Improves the experiences for students of all racial backgrounds

  • Decreases drop-out rates for low income students 

  • Decreases discipline actions for students of color

  • Increases expectations for all students

  • Increases student achievement

  • Creates a role model effect 

Sources: Diversifying the Teaching Profession:  How to Recruit and Retain  Teachers of Color and Why We Need a Diverse Workforce

 

Articles

Edutopia recently posted a study that found Black students that had a single Black teacher were 13% more likely to enroll in college. With two Black teachers, the number jumped to 33%. Having a Black teacher also cut high school dropout rates by 39% from low income families (Gershenson, et.al., 2018). 

Learning Policy Institute article called Diversifying the Teaching Profession: How to Recruit and Retain Teachers of Color written by Desiree Carver-Thomas and published on April 19, 2018 shares the following evidence of need: (1) Teachers of color boost the academic performance of students of color, including improved reading and math test scores, improved graduation rates, and increases in aspirations to attend college. (2) Students of color and White students report having positive perceptions of their teachers of color, including feeling cared for and academically challenged. (3) Greater diversity of teachers may mitigate feelings of isolation, frustration, and fatigue that can contribute to individual teachers of color leaving the profession when they feel they are alone.

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