Friday, October 3, 2014

St. Mike's grads Teaching at Berkshire School

Towards the end of every Spring semester for the past couple of years I get a call from Lynn Cota, the wonderful principal of the Berkshire Elementary School asking if we have any good grads looking for a teaching job in Vermont. For the past couple of years I have given her the names of several grads and, after the usual lengthy, exhaustive interview that characterizes job applications these days, Lynn has hired them. In fact, Lynn says she is always so  impressed with the quality of preparation pre-service teachers receive through their participation in the Saint Michael's College Teacher Education Program. This is so good to hear.

Lynn was an undergraduate student of mine when I was a professor at Trinity College in the
early 1990s and it is so wonderfully rewarding to see one's students graduate and do so well as professionals in the public schools system. As you can see from the Berkshire school website Lynn has spent the last year guiding the school and community through a lengthy, complex and comprehensive school building rebuilding process in which just about everything about the original building was changed. Pride of place is a large state of the art gym to which all members of the local community have access throughout
                                                                                    the year.

Above is a picture of Jess Neill's kindergarten classroom. Jess graduated from SMC several years ago and is really enjoying working in the Berkshire school in this community just 5 miles south of the Canadian border.

 This is a picture showing Erika Gravelin with her second grade class just a few weeks after starting to teach at Berkshire this semester. Erika was a math and elementary education double major at SMC and is a math whizz.  

This is Natalie Cowden teaching her first grade class. I supervised Natalie in her student teaching experience at Williston Central School two years ago. Natalie is an unbelievably creative teacher who, for example, has the children sing songs while they transition from one activity to the next. It helps them focus and keep on track, she says. 
And this is Andi Nelson who is also in her second year at Berkshire having graduated from St. Mike's last year. Andi was also a  graduate student in my Teaching Science in he K - 8 Classroom course this past summer and was as good a graduate student as she was an undergraduate student. Andi is always quick to smile and, from this pic, it looks like her students have picked up this wonderful habit too. As a friend of mine says, a smile is happiness right under your nose.

I will always remember and cherish my visit to Berkshire Elementary School last Monday, September 29, 2104.


  1. These are nice report Tim... they are interesting and valuable.

  2. This is so inspirational. Go St. Mikes! I feel so hopeful already