The Graduate Teaching Fellowship

by Ariel Reynolds on Feb 11, 2016

in Team & Family

Ryan Villarreal graduated with a political science degree in one hand and a passion for the world in the other. He took his knowledge and drive and headed to law school.

Ryan soon realized law school was not his path to making a difference. He knew he needed to learn the art of teaching.

Enter the Graduate Teaching Fellowship

The Graduate Teaching Fellowship (GTF) takes passionate people and turns them into prepared teachers with a solid foundation, ready for success.

During his first year, Ryan shadowed his “master teacher” mentor, Charlynn Bowers from KIPP CONNECT Houston Middle School. During this year, he developed his teacher voice, learned best practices, and saw firsthand the energy an effective teacher needs in the classroom.

The Second Year

Ryan began his second year as a 6th grade English language arts teacher at CONNECT.

“The second year was a huge shift,” Ryan explained. “It was a glorious burden. I had 28 kids looking at just me to impart some type of knowledge.”

With the freedom to explore and a strong foundation at the core of his teaching, Ryan has exceled at imparting knowledge to his KIPPsters. His students are eager to learn and even more eager to raise their hands and answer questions from previous lessons, showing their ability to retain the knowledge.

Why GTF at KIPP?

“KIPP is the place to be for opportunities,” Ryan said.

Passionate about the social narrative of educational opportunity, KIPP allows Ryan to be a part of a larger educational conversation and perspective.

Ryan began his first year shadowing a founding class, experiencing something special and uniquely KIPP. As part of a founding school, Ryan went on 115 home visits.

“Home visits are powerful,” Ryan explained. “I got to see the couch a child sits on, the table where he or she eats dinner. These personal moments deepen the KIPP connection and provide the opportunity to become part of their story. There’s nothing better a teacher can do than become part of a student’s story.”