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NewsMay 11, 2023

Reviewing Lesley’s leadership in teacher residencies

2023 June Fox Lecture featured a virtual panel discussion among alumni and education experts

By John Sullivan

Lesley University boasts a wide array of programs of study, from visual arts to business management, to counseling psychology and expressive arts therapies, designed to help students and graduates make a tangible difference in the world.

But Lesley’s legacy is built on teacher preparation, as the annual June Fox Lecture Series makes clear. And, last month, the 27th annual lecture was devoted to an in-depth virtual panel discussion of the university’s innovative teacher residencies, “The Role of Teacher Residency Programs at Lesley University: Five Decades of Impact on the Field.”

The June Fox lecture series began in 1997 to recognize Dr. Fox's rigorous commitment to teacher preparation. Dr. Fox stressed the importance of education in a democratic society.

The Graduate School of Education webinar, moderated by Associate Professor Kaoru Miya Miyazawa, and facilitated by Associate Dean Stephanie Spadorcia and Professor Emerita Marcia Bromfield, featured panelists from teacher residency programs from Cambridge’s Buckingham Browne & Nichols, the Carroll School in Lincoln, Massachusetts, as well as schools in Malden, Somerville and Westwood, Massachusetts.

The webinar also honored winners of several annual scholarships, including:

  • The 2023 June Fox Scholarship, to Augusta Pendergast, M.Ed. in Elementary Education, whose residency was at BB&N
  • The William Dandridge Book Award, to Taylor Garry, M.Ed. in Elementary Education, also from BB&N, and
  • The Mario Borunda Book Award, to Maria de Lourdes Gonsalves-Christo, M.Ed. in Elementary Education, from King Open School, a Cambridge Public School

Bromfield touted Lesley’s teacher residency model as “strong, intensive partnerships between schools and the university.”

Bromfield then showed a video from 2010 that outlined the benefits of Lesley’s collaborative model.

“Even though it’s not new,” she said. “… the video continues to reflect the residency experience.”

A virtual panel discussion followed the video.

“They’re going to interview like pros,” said Haley Cormier, director of the Angela Wilkins Program of Graduate Studies in Education at the Carroll School, about the future teachers who do their residencies through Lesley. “You’re really going to get your hands dirty.”

Cormier entered teaching as a “career changer,” having worked at athletic-clothing company Reebok. She earned her M.Ed. in Elementary Education from Lesley in 1998.

Adjunct faculty member Sarah Davila, director of multilingual learner education in Somerville Public Schools, spoke via a prerecorded video (from Guatemala) about the power of partnerships in education. She referred to the Lesley/Somerville partnership as a “sisterhood.”

“It’s a sisterhood because we share a common goal,” Davila said.

Other panelists included Beverly Malone, who initiated Lesley’s partnership with BB&N “way back in 1977,” Paul Teixeira, director of English Learner Education in Medford Public Schools, and Celia Watson ’21, M.Ed. in Inclusive Special Education, who interned at Westwood, Massachusetts, High School and now teaches outside Burlington, Vermont.

Watson said Lesley “made me feel prepared as a brand-new teacher. It has been a really phenomenal experience.”