Resident Teacher Highlights

Resident Celebrations SY 23-24

Shelly Solis, with four years of experience as a paraprofessional in Kalamazoo Public Schools, embarked on a new journey this fall by joining the Urban Teacher Residency Program. Building upon her previous classroom expertise, Shelly seamlessly transitioned into co-teaching 2nd grade alongside Stacy Erway at Parkwood-Upjohn.

Shelly's commitment to crafting detailed lesson plans, her proactive approach, and effective classroom management skills quickly garnered recognition from her principal and colleagues. This acknowledgment paved the way for Shelly to step into a long-term substitute position for kindergarten at Indian Prairie when it became available in January. Eager and prepared, Shelly enthusiastically accepted the opportunity.

In her new role, Shelly will receive support from her WMU (Western Michigan University) instructors, KPS (Kalamazoo Public Schools) mentor, and the new teacher coach throughout the remainder of the school year. This collaborative network will undoubtedly contribute to Shelly's success as she continues to make a positive impact in the classroom.

  • Margaux Chang and Courtney Bordner

    Margaux Chang and her mentor, Courtney Bordner

    What is your current position?
    CB: I am currently a Kindergarten Teacher at Mattawan Early Elementary and this is my 11th year teaching Kindergarten.
    MC: My current position is resident teacher in a kindergarten classroom. I’ve been in some form of teaching for over 10 years and I've worked in elementary education for 3.5 years. 
    Why do you teach?
    CB: Kindergarten is unique in the way that some students come with an educational background, while others have not had any school experiences. It is gratifying to walk alongside the students as they learn how to cooperate with each other socially and academically.
    MC: I teach because I love to learn. Teaching is learning something new everyday and helping children to grow and love their minds and abilities.
    What are you most proud of about yourself this school year?
    CB: This year I am most proud to watch the amount of growth that my students have made social-emotionally. They are becoming wonderful self-directed learners with a caring nature towards our classroom community members.
    MC: This year I am most proud of the relationships I’ve made with my students, my WMU classmates, and my coworkers. This year I started at a new building and I didn’t know anyone. I was nervous about what would happen and how. Having an amazing, welcoming mentor has allowed me to build trust and confidence which in turn has helped me to build strong professional relationships. 
    What accomplishments have you made in the last 2 years (post COVID)?
    CB: With the generous opportunity from the Grow Your Own Program, I have started earning my Master Degree in Literacy Studies.
    MC: In the last 2 years I have started my masters degree, taken chances, worked on bettering myself and finding joy where I am. 
    What makes this job worth it for you?
    CB: THE STUDENTS!! Just like parenting, it's said that the days are slow but the years fly by and I couldn't agree more. Sometimes there are rough days where you're just "making it" through but then the days of learning, growth and gratitude far out way those others which makes teaching a passionate profession.
    Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
    CB: In 5 years, I hope to continue to foster a love for learning in many students. My hope is to have more interns so that I can share with them the passion that I have for this profession!
    MC: I see myself facilitating the best classroom with the greatest kids, working with the most amazing team in a positive, fun environment!
  • Karli Fisher and Kelly Hungerford

    Karli Fischer and her mentor, Kelly Hungerford

    What is your current position?
    KF: As an intern in a 2nd-grade classroom pursuing my Masters in Education, my current position is that of a student teacher! I’ve been actively involved in Education the past three years. I started as a 1-1 Paraprofessional for a Special Education student in 2021. As soon as I began my journey as a Paraprofessional, I knew Education was where I was meant to be. It’s slightly ironic, as I first began my undergraduate career at WMU as an Education major. I ended up switching course, and pursing a Bachelors in Global and International Studies with a focus in Cultural Anthropology. It’s funny how the universe always has a way of bringing us back to where we are meant to be.
    KH: I am a 2nd grade teacher at Mattawan Early Elementary School. This is my 11th year teaching. I have taught children Pk (Head Start) through 2nd grade.
    Why do you teach?
    KF: I choose to teach because I am passionate about making a positive impact on students’ lives. I believe in the power of education to empower and inspire young minds, and it’s a privilege to help them discover their potential. Teaching is truly the most rewarding experience!
    KH: In those really hard days of teaching I ponder this question... but I honestly could not see myself doing anything BUT teaching! I am the girl that could tell you every single elementary teacher that I had as a child, and something memorable about the year I shared with each. Hearing that some children did not have any enjoyable elementary years broke my heart. I strive to be the teacher to make genuine connections with every child so they feel valued and WANT to come to school. The impact teachers have on students is HUGE. We play a massive role in shaping their minds and personalities; instilling confidence and skills that will help them flourish and thrive when it is time to leave me. The cuddles, the tears, the lightbulb moments, the growth from the beginning to the end of the year- it is all amazing! The pure love of fostering knowledge and self-confidence is why I continue to teach.
    What are you most proud of about yourself this school year?
    KF: This school year, I am most proud of the strong connections I’ve built with my students. Creating a positive and supportive learning environment has been a priority, and seeing the growth and enthusiasm of my students has been incredibly rewarding. On a personal note, I am proud of myself for taking on the challenge of balancing my Masters program and teaching full-time, while making my metal and physical health a priority, too.
    KH: Being able to collaborate with some amazing teachers on a daily basis. This year, my "mudroom buddy" (our classrooms are connected via a small room) and I were encouraged to tap into our strengths and departmentalize for math and writing. Math test scores have been the highest since we started sharing our students. Students are BEGGING to do writing throughout the day. The quality of work has improved because the teachers are passionate about what they are teaching.
    What accomplishments have you made in the last 2 years (post COVID)?
    KF: I feel in the last two years, I’ve accomplished one of the biggest feats in life - discovering what I am passionate about! I have accomplished pursuing my passion of Education by returning to school for my Masters program while working full-time. On a personal note, I also got engaged this past year! Finding a balance between school, work, and my personal life is a big accomplishment in itself.
    KH: I'm intentional about the way I choose to teach. I am doing what is best for students and not because I "have to". In December, I finished LETRS training. This has really shaped the way I teach reading and writing to benefit ALL learners in my classroom.
    What makes this job worth it for you?
    KF: The intrinsic rewards of teaching, such as witnessing the moment a student grasps a concept, or seeing their confidence grow, is what makes this job worth it to me. The opportunity to contribute to the development of my students and make a lasting impact on their lives and educational journey is incredibly fulfilling. My students will always make this job worth it to me!
    KHAll of the incredible opportunities I get to experience on a daily basis; students making genuine connections for the first time with their peers; students using skills you taught them, their eyes lighting up when they finally understand a concept; celebrating and processing all of the little and big moments, both positive and negative, with students; helping students understand their worth in the school community and in the classroom.
    Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
    KF: In the next five years, I see myself continuing to grow as an Educator! I aspire to take on more leadership roles within the school community, possibly exploring curriculum development or educational leadership positions. Ultimately, my goal is to continue making a positive impact on students’ lives and contributing to the field of Education.
    KH: I will be continuing to learn and to improve my teaching strategies. I never want to become stagnant!
  • Natalie Johnston and Marilaine Hamilton

    Natalie Johnston and her mentor, Marilaine Hamilton

    What is your current position?
    NJ: Currently I am co-teaching in a second grade classroom. Prior to this, I worked as a parent-child educator at an outdoor preschool, as a youth services assistant at a local public library and then as the school librarian at my current placement school for two years. I have spent many years in education in various capacities and have enjoyed each role for different reasons.
    MH: I am a 2nd grade teacher at Murphy Elementary in Haslett, MI. I have been teaching for 29 years!
    Why do you teach?
    NJ: I love working with children and especially love the energy of working in an elementary school! I enjoy getting to know each student and meeting them where they are at. After working as the school librarian for two years, I realized that my skill set could also be put to good use as a teacher. I am looking forward to having my own classroom next year.
    MH: I teach because I love building lasting relationships with students and their families. I find every day in my classroom to be joyful and it is amazing to see my students succeed.
    What are you most proud of about yourself this school year?
    NJ: I am proud of many things this year, but one thing of note is that I have excelled in my coursework while also juggling work and personal life. Balancing everything can be hard, but I am proud of myself for being able to manage it all!
    MH: This school year, I am most proud of developing a strong co-teaching relationship with my resident teacher. We have had a great year together!
    What accomplishments have you made in the last 2 years (post COVID)?
    NJ: In the past two years I have accomplished going back to school for my Master's degree, as well as passing my MTTC exam!
    MH: I am very proud of my advancements with industrial technology over the last two years. I have also accomplished becoming a SeeSaw certified educator.
    What makes this job worth it for you?
    NJ: There are many things I love about teaching, but I especially treasure the connections made with students. I feel honored to be such a big part of their day and believe there is nothing better than watching your students learn and master something new.
    MH: There are many things that makes this job worth it for me, but some of the top reasons are that I love the atmosphere of an elementary school. I feel lucky that every day I come to work and know that I am going to have fun with my students and coworkers. I also enjoy mentoring new teachers and helping them grow personally and professionally.
    Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
    NJ: In five years I see myself thriving with my own classroom!
    MH: In five years I see myself being retired and enjoying life, but still active in the education community as a volunteer.

In the news

  • Carolyn Coulter

    Not just fair food: Teacher launches funnel cake business

    Carolyn Coulter, a graduate of the teaching elementary education masters program, celebrated the grand opening of her budding venture, Coulter Cakes. Her mobile business sells carnival style funnel cakes so Kalamazoo residents can enjoy them without having to travel to the fair.

    Read more

Resident Teacher Awards

  • Aneisha Carlisle
    Aneisha Carlisle

    The Urban Teacher Residency program at Western Michigan University in partnership with Kalamazoo Public Schools presents the Resident Teacher of December Award to Aneisha Carlisle. Ms. Carlisle is being recognized for her compassion towards students, high quality lessons and consistency in delivering effective instruction. Under the leadership of Mrs. Glenda Forbes, Ms. Carlisle is learning the best of both worlds serving as a K-3 Resource Special Educator and accessing the general education classroom at Parkwood Upjohn Elementary. Her work includes data analysis, small group instruction and whole group leadership. Congratulations Ms. Carlisle on all of your success!



    Why education?

    “ As a teacher you play an important role in helping shape students and their future and I want to be a part of that.”

    Favorite quote:

    "Everyone who remembers his own education remembers teachers, not methods and techniques. The teacher is the heart of the educational system."

    – Sidney Hook

    When times get rough, I continue to do this work because...

    “What motivates me to keep going are the students. I want to be the teacher who students can see as safe and supportive.”

  • Koretta King-Jackson
    Koretta King-Jackson

    Mrs. King-Jackson teaches Kindergarten at Discovery Enrichment Center in BHAS. She has been a consistent force in the life of the school, as well as a top performer in the Urban Teacher Residency Program. We are proud to recognize her for all of her efforts!

    Why education?

    "I teach because my heart is overjoyed with love when I see the elevation of students’ minds.”

    Favorite quote:

    “A key to growing as an educator is to keep company mainly with teachers who uplift you, whose presence inspires you and whose dedication drives you.”

    - Robert John Meehan

    When times get rough, I continue to do this work because...

    “When times get tough I am motivated by focusing on what I have/doing and not what I lack or can’t do, and try to maintain a positive attitude through change or whatever happens within my classroom or the district.”

  • Elita Jones
    Elita Jones

    Milwood Elementary School, K-5 Self-Contained Autism 
    March Resident Teacher of the Month 

    Why education?

    “I teach because I believe every student has the potential to succeed. I want to help my students discover their own talents and believe in themselves.”

    Favorite quote:

    “Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.” - Benjamin Franklin 

    When times get rough, I continue to do this work because...

    “My students' smiles, laughter, and  the look of wonder during a science experiment. I love when they make a connection or the twinkle in their eyes when they accomplish a task. These moments motivate me to keep teaching."

  • Rebecca MacCart
    Rebecca MacCart

    Ms. MacCart serves multiple grade levels at Discovery Enrichment Center & MLK, Jr. Elementary Schools in BHAS. Ms. MacCart is being recognized for her tireless efforts to craft and deliver high quality, engaging lessons that move students forward academically. Patience, creativity and high standards are hallmarks of Ms. MacCart’s instruction. We are proud to recognize her contributions!

    Why education?

    “I teach because I am energized by working with my students and seeing them learn and grow every day.”

    Favorite quote:

    “The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education” 

    – Martin Luther King 

    When times get rough, I continue to do this work because...

    “I am motivated by being around my students and seeing their growth and progress, watching them learn and flourish."

  • Jennifer Wright
    jennifer wright

    Western Michigan University in partnership with Kalamazoo Public Schools presents the Resident Teacher of December Award to Ms. Jennifer Wright for her fierce dedication to the students and families of Arcadia Elementary. Ms. Wright serves as a Resident Kindergarten teacher and is being recognized for her creativity in lesson execution and commitment to her graduate studies.

    Why education?

    "I want students to make connections and grow in their knowledge and understanding of the world around us.”

    Favorite quote:

    "The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go.” 

    - Dr. Suess 

    When times get rough, I continue to do this work because...

    “Sometimes it is just taking a moment and looking into your student's eyes and seeing all the goodness that is inside of them. It also means the world to me when a former student sends me an e-mail, or stops me in the hallway to chat or give a hug. When a child is happy to see you, that is an incredibly powerful motivator.”

Amazing Mentor Awards

  • Heidi Ali
    Heidi Ali

    Milwood Elementary, K-5 Self Contained Autism 

    Heidi Ali is an Amazing Mentor for March 2022 and is being recognized by the staff of the Urban Teacher Residency program at WMU for her ingenuity and excellence in the classroom. Heidi displays creativity and data-based instruction as she leads her Resident Teacher, Elita Jones, through the residency year experience. Heidi shares her inspiration with us:  

    Why education?

    “I teach because I love helping kids reach their goals. I have the opportunity to watch my students grow and progress daily and it is amazing that I get to be a part of that journey.”

    Favorite quote:

    “If a child can't learn the way we teach, maybe we should teach the way they learn."

    When times get rough, I continue to do this work because...

    “When times get tough, I am motivated by my students to keep doing this work. My students work through challenges every day and they never give up. Watching them persevere gives me the motivation to push through the tough times."

  • Glenda Forbes
    Glenda Forbes

    Parkwood-Upjohn Elementary 

    Special Education Resource, K-3 

    Glenda Forbes is being honored with the Amazing Mentor Award for March 2022 by the staff of the Urban Teacher Residency Program at WMU. Glenda is being recognized for her professionalism and commitment to the development of her Resident Teacher, Aneisha Carlisle. Glenda is always responsive and eager to support Aneisha with lesson plans, scheduling, and teaching tasks. Glenda shares her insight into why she does this work:

    Why education?

    “I teach because it is my calling. From an early age I knew I wanted to be a teacher. I remember during the summer break playing school with the neighborhood children. I was always the teacher. I teach because it brings me pure joy when students have “aha” moments and finally grasp a concept or skill. When that light bulb goes off and a big smile comes across their faces, it is then that I know I am making a difference in that child’s life. I teach because it allows me to grow and learn with my students and become a better person, a better teacher.”

    How long have you been in the field?

    “I have been in the field of education for 26 exciting years."

    When times get rough, I continue to do this work because...

    “When times get tough, what keeps me coming back is the commitment I made to my students when I first started teaching. To always love them first and make sure they receive the best of me daily."

    Why do you serve as a mentor?

    “I serve as a source of knowledge to help facilitate and guide future teachers. To provide learning opportunities in a hands-on environment, where mentees learn by doing is one way that I go about this role.  It is rewarding for me to mentor aspiring teachers who take what I have given them and go on to be phenomenal educators, enriching the lives of their students. Being a mentor also allows me the unique opportunity to continue as a lifelong learner. My mentees often have fresh ideas and ways of doing things that were not practiced when I was in my teaching program. Education is always changing and having that insight is beneficial. I am afforded with the blessing of imparting knowledge as well as gaining knowledge."