The fourth class of 21 in the Teacher Residency Program, a partnership with Buffalo Public Schools, began in the summer of 2022 with an institute held on UB's South Campus. Each student is working with a mentor teacher at their assigned school. They will co-teach this year while taking courses that connect research and theory to teaching. Once they finish in Aug. 2023, residents will be certified and eligible to work as full-time teachers in Buffalo schools. Here, this year's cohort members explain what drew them to the program.
Bahati Adam graduated from the Buffalo Public Schools and majored in sociology at UB. The experience interning for BPS as a college access specialist opened her eyes to many challenges new English language learners face when adapting to the school environment. As a result, she wanted to continue working with them, hoping to positively influence these youth as an educator.
Rehana Akhter double majored in science and education as an undergraduate and received postgraduate diplomas in ecology and environment and computer applications. Akhter strives to focus on culturally responsive teaching; she believes every child has enormous potential, but motivation and guidance are the keys to a student’s success.
Brianna Brown graduated from the UB with a bachelor’s degree in African American studies and legal studies with a minor in education. She is a former teacher’s assistant for a special education preschool classroom. Brown takes a special interest in community engagement and finding ways to create equity in the education system.
Chantal Cunningham graduated from D’Youville College, where she earned dual degrees in exercise and sports studies and business management. After applying to become a Buffalo Public Schools substitute teacher, she moved through several positions, ultimately becoming a living environment teacher. She could not pass up this amazing opportunity when she learned about the UBTR Program.
Daniela Edinger of Porto Alegre, Brazil, has a degree in English language and literature. Edinger is bilingual in English and Portuguese and taught in Brazil for almost 20 years. Knowing that she belongs in the classroom, she declared ESOL the best path to return to teaching, because she finds great value in teaching English to those who need to learn it.
Terasa Hall earned a bachelor’s degree in health and human services with a concentration in early childhood education from UB. Before joining the UBTR program, she was a building substitute teacher in the Buffalo Public Schools with a passion for helping and teaching children.
Jetaun Harris, a Buffalo native, earned a BA in sociology from Buffalo State. As a human service professional, she facilitated care for individuals, families and communities, while overcoming concerns to improve their quality of life. She now wants to focus on culturally sustaining pedagogy and culturally responsive teaching strategies, as she continues to learn in the UBTR program.
Nichole Johnson graduated with a BA in history in 2006 and has worked in the banking industry for the past 14 years. While helping her son with schoolwork during the pandemic, she was reminded that teaching is her calling and enthusiastically joined the UBTR program. She is ecstatic to become a teacher and do what she has been passionate about all these years.
Kimberly Y. King is a Buffalonian who was educated in the Buffalo Public Schools. She is a Buffalo State graduate who taught for 15 years in the Head Start program and held various positions related to educating young children. The UBTR program is an opportunity of a lifetime for King to help fulfill her passion for and her dream of teaching children in the BPS.
Tyler Mecklenburg has an undergraduate degree in voice performance from SUNY Fredonia and is now in the adolescent social studies program with UBTR. Mecklenburg switched to the UBTR program because it provides the best teacher training for aspiring urban teachers. He has always wanted to teach in Buffalo, primarily because of the diversity the Buffalo community offers.
Alexis Orr currently holds a bachelor’s degree in English and adolescent education, but has decided to further her academic studies in early childhood and childhood education. She loves that the UBTR program allows her to collaborate with an experienced mentor teacher for an entire year and help her gain hands-on experience.
Philip Pinzone received a master’s degree in biology from Buffalo State in 2016 and has been teaching as an adjunct professor ever since. He believes teaching the youth is his way of helping the community in Buffalo. Pinzone is inspired to work in education because of his mother, who has been a teacher for more than two decades.
Lucas Potter was born and raised in Buffalo and graduated from UB in Spring 2022 with an undergraduate degree in biological sciences. He worked with Buffalo Prep, a program for underrepresented students from Buffalo, to provide academic advancement opportunities. Potter became interested in teaching science because he believes he can inspire students to learn and pursue STEM careers.
Adam Pruchnowski majored in English at UB. He has been a teacher’s aide for several programs and led a local small business, Heart of the Game, where he has worked to engage community members in their hobbies. He learned about the UBTR program through a close friend and thought it was the best opportunity for him to gain experience as an educator.
GianCarlo Pryce is from Brooklyn, N.Y., and completed his bachelor’s in history at UB. He is excited to be in the fourth cohort of the UBTR program to acquire the tools and fulfill the requirements for starting a teaching career and is grateful to enter the classroom under the tutelage of a mentor teacher. Pryce wants to help young learners as they navigate and explore the world around them.
Noah Reed-Eason received a bachelor’s degree in music from UB. Now, he is on his way to becoming the first music teacher to go through the UBTR program. When his mother suggested this program, he knew it would lead him to complete his master’s degree with a teaching certificate, while giving him teaching experience in an urban classroom. He is excited to share his love for music with children in the city where he grew up.
Martin Safford-Cameron has worn many hats in his half-century on earth, from a classically trained violinist, student of world history and of science and human interactions, deckhand, restaurant owner/chef, soccer coach and substitute teacher. He received a bachelor’s degree in political science and international relations from Williams College. Substituting at the elementary level cemented his plans to become an educator for his remaining career, and now he is excited to begin this fulfilling chapter in his life in the UBTR program.
Courtney Sorrento received her bachelor’s degree in French secondary education from Buffalo State. Sorrento worked as a French teacher, a telephone banking center trainer, a small business owner and a retirement/Medicare/asset protection planner before joining the UBTR program. She is grateful the program allows her to get her master’s degree and certification, while student teaching and earning financial support.
Meghan Stella received her bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary social sciences with an early childhood concentration from UB. She previously worked as a teacher’s aide and substitute teacher. Stella wants to become a teacher because she believes that knowledge is power. She wants her students to exude confidence in the classroom and take the skills they learn into their personal lives.
Matt Weinberg earned his bachelor’s degree in mathematical physics from the University at Buffalo. While pursuing his degree, he worked as a teaching assistant for the Educational Opportunity Program and the UB Department of Mathematics. Weinberg is passionate about teaching and knows this profession best suits him.
Caroline Williams graduated from UB with a BA in communications and a minor in Spanish and earned Latin honors. She has found much joy working as a TA for COM326 to help support student learning, and as a community assistant at Creekside Village. Williams is ready to teach Spanish and believes that she can make an impact on her students.