Future Teachers Step Up To Leadership

Six students have been inducted into leadership positions in the Connecticut Educators Rising program, which encourages high school students to aspire to careers in education.

Educators Rising is a “Grow Your Own” program that provides a clear educational pathway to students to increase teacher diversity and teacher quality.  

Educators from the University of Bridgeport (UB), Educators Rising, and the Connecticut State Department of Education were on hand to congratulate the future teachers.

From left, Dr. Patricia Mulcahy-Ernt, Mary Glassman, Dr. Shuana Tucker, Sinthia Sone-Moyano, Woody Exley, Sherrod Cuttino, Mimi Colón, Jacquelin Rybnick, Alivia Afable, Danyelix Echevarria-Figueroa, Isaias Rodríguez Sánchez, Dr. Danielle Wilken, Tricia Putnam, Dr. Khaled Elleithy, and Dr. Tonya Chacón.

EdRising Student Cabinet

Inducted into the Connecticut EdRising Student Cabinet in a ceremony at the University of Bridgeport were:

  • Danyelix Echevarria-Figueroa, New Britain High School, President
  • Alivia Afable, Waterbury Career Academy, Vice President of Engagement
  • Mimi Colón, New Britain High School, Vice President of Communications
  • Jacquelyn Rybnick, Stamford High School, Vice President of Service
  • Isaias Rodríguez Sánchez, New Britain High School, Representative At-Large
  • Sherrod Cuttino, Central Connecticut State University, Representative At-Large in the recently established college-level Aspiring Educators program.

Varied Responsibilities

In their positions, the students will have a variety of responsibilities in ensuring the success of the EdRising program in their schools. This will give them the opportunity to cultivate their leadership capabilities while advancing the program.

The EdRising program enables high school students to take courses related to education careers and to serve in internships in local schools. They can also earn university credit by taking courses at their schools taught by certified university teachers.

Congratulating the aspiring teachers were:

From the University of Bridgeport: Dr. Danielle Wilken, President; Dr. Khaled Elleithy, Dean, College of Engineering, Business, and Education; Dr. Patricia Mulcahy-Ernt, Director, School of Education; and Dr. Tonya Chacón, Coordinator of the Elementary Education Program.

From the Connecticut State Department of Education: Sinthia Sone-Moyano and Dr. Charles Hewes, Deputy Commissioners; Dr. Shuana Tucker, Chief Talent Officer; and Mary Glassman, Workforce Diversity and Educator Effectiveness Officer.

Also participating was Tricia Putnam, Connecticut State and Regional EdRising Coordinator for PDK International, whose mission is to eliminate the teacher shortage by supporting EdRising programs across the country.

Establishing Pathways

UB’s Dr. Mulcahy-Ernt hopes that some of the students will enroll in the educator-preparation program at the University of Bridgeport. “EdRising is having an impact by establishing pathways for future educators,” she says. “It’s introducing them to the teaching profession and enabling them to step up to leadership positions.”

Dr. Chacón notes that students can accelerate the speed of their professional journey by taking university courses while in high school. “We’re creating pathways for young people who are interested in becoming educators,” she says. “We want to foster that, and we want to nurture that. Educators Rising is the perfect way to do that. They can earn university credit at a nominal fee.”

Inspirational Program

“EdRising inspired me to become a teacher,” says Isaias Rodríguez Sánchez, a student in New Britain. “The program has helped me to develop the skills that I need to become an educator. It has helped me to strengthen my public speaking skills and my social skills. The EdRising club at school is like a family.”

EdRising has chapters in many states. In Connecticut, the program is one of many initiatives advanced by the state Department of Education to address the teacher shortage as well as the dearth of educators of color.

Nearly 500 students are participating in high schools in Ansonia, Bristol, Danbury, East Hartford, Farmington, Groton, Hamden, Hartford, Manchester, Naugatuck, New Britain, New Haven, New London, Norwich, Stamford, Torrington, Waterbury, and Windsor. More than 80 percent of the participants are students of color, which is important since only 11 percent of educators in Connecticut are persons of color compared to over half of the students in public schools.