NJEA Vice President Steve Beattie and NJEA Membership Director Jaime Valente visited students in the Aspiring Educator Program at William Paterson College. Through partnerships with the NJEA, local school districts, and state-funded minority teacher development grants, the program, overseen by the College of Education, will open doors for local high school students to consider and pursue education as a career. Focused.
This year, 18 high school students from Passaic County worked with Professor of Education, Dr. David Fuentes, to earn college credits with a foundation in multicultural education.
As part of their clinical experience, students also work as teaching assistants in the Summer Youth Program at the School of Continuing and Professional Education.
“Programs like this promote social mobility for students, especially those from ethically and racially diverse backgrounds,” Fuentes said. “They promote the dignity and respect of the profession and help students recognize how they can become agents of change in their communities as future educators. We are better equipped to teach other people’s children.”
Valente explained the NJEA’s goal to diversify the teacher pipeline. “There is value in being able to see the people in front of the classroom so that students can relate,” he said. “We must move this social justice effort forward. Students must see themselves in their educators.”
The NJEA awarded Dean Amy Ginsburg $15,000 and pledged an additional $15,000 to continue supporting the program. The NJEA also invited program students to her NJEA convention in November.
Vice President Steve Beatty pledged to continue supporting programs such as Aspiring Educators.
“We need to motivate the next generation of educators to ensure that New Jersey schools remain among the top in the nation,” Beatty said. “All stakeholders in education must work together to support future colleagues in the most important and most satisfying jobs in the world.”