Teach for America hires Elon alumni for fall 2010
Fourteen Elon University alumni in the Class of 2010 will re-enter the classroom this fall as educators with Teach for America, a national nonprofit that recruits recent college graduates to help erase what it describes as educational inequity found in many urban and rural low-income communities.
Teach for America on Monday released information on the corps members selected to teach from September 2010 through June 2012, a group that represents the largest incoming cohort in the organization’s 20-year history.
The 2010 selections earned an average GPA of 3.6 and 89 percent held leadership positions as undergraduates. “In education, talent is the most precious resource, so these new teachers represent an extraordinary opportunity for the broader movement for educational excellence and equity,” said Wendy Kopp, Teach For America’s founder and CEO.
In the coming school year, more than 8,200 first- and second-year corps members will be teaching in 39 regions, including four new locations: Alabama; Detroit; Rhode Island; and San Antonio, Texas. The 4,500 college graduates selected for the fall were chosen from among the record-breaking 46,000 applications submitted to the organization.
Kopp proposed Teach for America in her senior thesis at Princeton University, and the nonprofit initiative launched in 1990 with 500 men and women who began teaching in six low-income communities around the nation.
The reasons that Elon University students apply are varied.
“My decision to work for the program was inspired by my 2009 Winter Term study abroad program in India,” said Hunter Gros, an international studies major from New York who will teach this fall in Phoenix. “The winter course focused on working with middle school children and science, and I just caught the teaching bug.”
The two-year commitment comes with a salary based on geographic region, health benefits and opportunities to pursue graduate degrees through partner universities.
What do some of the Elon alumni accepted into the corps cite as their reason for joining?
Name: David Kay
Major: History with Teacher Licensure
Hometown: Oakton, Va.
“As an education major, I knew I wanted to be teaching in the fall. I view Teach for America as an unparalleled opportunity for professional development and a chance to serve in some of the toughest schools with an excellent support system. During my time in the teacher corps, I hope to bridge what has become a divide between teachers with traditional certification and schools of education and Teach for America.”
Name: Katelin Clark
Major: Media Arts and Entertainment
Hometown: Kansas City, Kansas
Assignment: Tulsa, Oklahoma
“I remember having to attend the TFA informational session as a requirement for one of my leadership classes, and after that I was hooked. Having been a leader all my life, I have never felt the sense of purpose or the draw to a cause I did after seeing that video. It was so inspirational to witness personal accounts of people in the program and to see how much of an impact specific teachers have had on their communities.”
Name: Sara Pasquinelli
Major: History & Anthropology
"Since my freshman year, I connected with Teach for America's mission that all students should have access to quality education, that all students deserve an chance to succeed. Without my former teachers' encouragement, I may not be at Elon University today. I cannot wait to challenge my students in a similar way next year.”
Name: Daniel Shutt
Major: Political Science & Religious Studies
Hometown: Pineville, N.C.
Assignment: Northampton County, N.C.
“I applied because I've spent 22 years pursuing my own interests and my own goals, and I think it's time for me to give something back. The achievement gap in our public education system is a direct threat to the kind of equal opportunity society we all want to live in. For me, the best way to serve my country and my community is to join the fight to ensure greater opportunity for my fellow Americans. This isn't charity or mission work - it's about joining with others who are working to make sure that every kid in this country has a fair shot at accomplishing their dreams.”
Name: Carmen Isaac
Major: Public Administration
Hometown: College Park, Md.
Assignment: Miami-Dade County, Fla.
“I chose to participate in TFA because educating our youth has always meant a lot to me, and I wanted to join this great organization's fight against the achievement gap that existS between people of different socioeconomic status.”
Name: Katherine Merrill
Hometown: Ridgefield, Conn.
Assignment: Charlotte, N.C.
“Personally, I connected to this mission because my mom has been an avid employee in the Connecticut public schools as a teacher, elementary school principal and board of education member. I have also invested a decade of my life attending and working at a YMCA camp for girls in Massachusetts where I developed a passion for working with and teaching children. My ambitions are to take what I've learned from my work in the YMCA, my Elon education and my leadership experiences and use it to teach children how much potential they have if they are determined and passionate about their schoolwork.”