USJ hosts EdRising event promoting diverse future educators

The University of Saint Joseph (USJ) hosted 85 educators from around the state on May 29 for “CT Grows Its Own! Planting Seeds for Future Educators,” a program of the Connecticut State Department of Education, PDK International, and Connecticut Educators Rising (EdRising).

EdRising works to guide young people on the path to teaching careers, including diverse aspiring educators who will reflect the demographics of the communities they will serve.  

Left to right, Jessica Ocasio, CSDE Associate Educational Consultant; Mary Glassman, CSDE Diversity Education Coordinator; Tricia Putnam, Director of EdRising; USJ President Dr. Rhona Free; Dr. Verna Ruffin; Dr. Shuana Tucker; and Dr. Dianna Wentzell.

“Welcoming teachers, and students who aspire to be teachers, is a special honor here because that is why USJ was created,” said USJ President Dr. Rhona Free greeting the audience. “In 1932 the sisters of Mercy wanted to create a college where women in this region could prepare to become teachers…and that’s what we’ve done for 92 years…Preparing teachers has been a fundamental part of what we do.”  

The day-long event included panels addressing educator diversity and teacher shortages in Connecticut and discussing resources to help grow the EdRising program. The event featured education professionals including State Sen. Doug McCrory, Co-Chair Education Committee;  Dr. Shuana Tucker, CSDE Chief Talent Officer; Sinthia Sone-Moyano, CSDE Deputy Commissioner; Dr. Kurt Love, associate professor, Curriculum & Instruction, Central Connecticut State University, and former adjunct professor at USJ;  Dr. Verna Ruffin, Superintendent of Waterbury Public Schools; Dr. Ashley Oldham, Chair of USJ’s Department of Education; Dr. Dianna Wentzell, USJ Professor of Education and Director of Clinical Practice, and several more. 

Keynote speaker Congresswoman Jahana Hayes

The day also included breakout sessions and professional development for EdRising aspiring educators, and a working lunch featuring Keynote speaker Congresswoman Jahana Hayes, a USJ graduate, who spoke about the importance of education and diversity in education. 

“Thank you for choosing education as a profession…Education changes things. It saves lives. It changes trajectories. It transforms families. It guards and protects the future,” Congresswoman Hayes told the attendees. “We need diverse educators from diverse backgrounds in every school district across the country…We need more young men in education. We need people who are bilingual and multilingual. We need people of different abilities and capacities. Kids need to see all of that so they can imagine themselves being that.” 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

The reCAPTCHA verification period has expired. Please reload the page.