The NCTR Resident of the Year Award celebrates the hard work, diligence and enthusiasm of residents who are training with one of our Network Partners. This year’s nominees were selected by their programs with the following criteria in mind:

  • The candidate demonstrates a commitment to student growth and learning
  • They meet, or even exceed, program requirements, thereby demonstrating effectiveness
  • They exemplify the qualities of a good colleague and peer within their cohort
  • They exhibit leadership skills and initiative

From these nominees, NCTR will announce the 2019 Resident of the Year during our annual Symposium, May 14-16.

This year’s nominees for the 2019 Resident of the Year:

Alder Graduate School of Education

Jim Torres, High School Science

Jim’s drive, dedication to students, and constant desire to learn is evident in everything he does. He constantly steps up above what is required in his school placement, his work, supporting his peers and students. Jim hit the ground running since he started the residency with so much passion, humility, and a go-getter spirit. His resident peers look to him as a leader among the group. Jim conducts himself in a way that is far beyond his years. Jim is always thinking about kids first and prioritizes students well-being and learning.

Alder Graduate School of Education – Aspire Los Angeles

Jacqueline Sanchez, 4th grade

Jacqueline approaches all students, challenges, peers, colleagues, families and education with an asset-based mindset.  She truly exemplifies outrageous love for school, students, graduate school, colleagues and her mentor. She is committed to success for all students in every subject, every single day.  She juggles all of the requirements of our year-long residency program with grace and peace.  Jacqueline is a quiet leader within the cohort; she leads with honor and maturity. Cohort #9 at Alder GSE–Aspire Public Schools Los Angeles would not be the same without Jacqueline.

Boettcher Teacher Residency

Skyler Golann, High School Social Studies

Skyler displays a strong commitment to student growth and understanding, working hard to understand current research on best practice and implementing that with his students, especially in the areas of motivation and engagement, discourse, and content knowledge. He is a good colleague and peer within the cohort, providing support to his PLC through idea-generation and teacher wellness advice. He exhibits strong leadership skills and initiative, earning the trust of school leaders, his mentor, and his students, and shows initiative in his commitment to implementing thoroughly-researched social justice education practices into his classroom.

Clarkson University Master of Arts in Teaching

Ping Huang, High School Foreign Language

Ping is an international graduate student who teaches Chinese at a regional high school. Ping is the only world language teacher in the school, and she independently developed a Chinese curriculum aligned to the school’s mission. Ping uses creative and varied teaching strategies to engage students and build their Chinese literacy. She combines etymological knowledge with disciplinary pedagogy to ensure success for all her diverse learners. Additionally, Ping was offered a faculty position for next year to expand the Chinese curriculum school-wide due to her successful pilot program.

CREATE Teacher Residency

Jomal Childers, Kindergarten

Jomal is an exemplar learner, committed educator, supporter of colleagues and energetic leader. He requests and uses feedback from staff, mentors and other teachers; curious about impacts, he works tirelessly to exact techniques, but doesn’t judge himself harshly when lessons aren’t perfect. He wrestles openly and honestly with what it means to be a black male teacher teaching black boys alongside other students. He maximizes opportunities to engage residency programming and supports fellow residents; he helped one colleague get a job interview. Finally, he has dived into extracurricular activities, engaging after-hours at the school and performing in whole-school assemblies.

Dallas Teacher Residency

Courtney Cox, Secondary Science

As a woman in a STEM teaching field, Courtney is not unfamiliar with taking the road less traveled. A constant risk taker, leader, and, individual who demonstrates a continuous curiosity to acquire new learning, Courtney lives and breaths what it means to be a DTR resident. In addition to being an overall “rock-star on her campus from Day 1” (as described by her mentor teacher), Courtney also was one of four residents that participated in a year-long book study with university faculty examining how teachers approach teaching students of color. Participating in this study group resulted in Courtney and her resident colleagues each having proposals accepted to present at a regional multicultural education conference in Texas.

East Harlem Teaching Residency

Harry Little, Kindergarten and 2nd Grade

Harry’s peers wrote: “I recommend Harry Little as the Resident of the Year. Harry cares not only about his own students but about all students. When I was having a challenge with a student in my classroom who is a black boy, I spoke to Harry about ideas for me to best support this student. Harry helped me think through protective practices in working with this student, and he also went out of his way to check in with the student himself and formed a relationship with him. Harry is thoughtful and supportive of his peers and his students and I personally thank him for pushing me to be a better educator.”

Fresno Teacher Residency Program

Melissa Ortiz, 7th Grade Math

Melissa represents the best of the residency program and the level of professionalism expected of participants in the program. She leans into learning content more deeply and challenges herself.  Currently, Melissa is earning two credentials, a Multiple Subject Credential and adding a Math Foundational Credential. Melissa is an active and valuable participant who consistently asks questions pertinent to the topic, makes connections and immediately implements new learning. Mentors report that she asks questions about the “why” of lesson design and that she values feedback. Melissa has built lasting relationships with mentors, students and Fresno Unified School District support staff.

Inspired Teaching Residency

Asha Diggs, 4th Grade

Asha is everything we look for in an Inspired Teaching Resident and new teacher. She consistently goes above and beyond to improve her practice by seeking feedback from her mentor teacher and coach, as well as feedback about assignments from instructors. Asha has a curious and reflective nature and is always wondering about innovative ways to grow. She has a yearning to grow and does not shy away from a challenge. Through the relationships she’s established, the students see no difference between her and her mentor teacher. As a mother to a young daughter, Asha impressively is able to balance all of her demanding responsibilities and never offers excuses. She is a leader within her cohort, and holds herself to a high standard and expects to be successful.

Kansas City Teacher Residency

Shakiera Golden, Kindergarten

Since day one of her Residency Year, Shakiera has been a leader. She consistently displays a growth mindset in coursework and at her clinical site. Shakiera supports her fellow Residents with words of affirmation and helpful reminders. She actively seeks and implements feedback from her mentor and coach. Above all else, Shakiera has high expectations for all students and works everyday to support students in meeting those expectations.

Kern Urban Teacher Residency

Yasmine Valencia, 6th Grade Dual Immersion and Kindergarten

Perseverance is the one word that describes Yasmine Valencia. Her commitment to her personal professional growth stems from a small town humble nature to a musician on the stage of Carnegie Hall. Commuting to teach in a district outside of her hometown, living with other residents and excelling in her academics, compliments her leadership skills and radiant smile. Yasmine accepts every challenge of the program, remains flexible, and seeks to continuously improve. She is a clear representation of our program’s mission and vision.

Los Angeles Urban Teacher Residency

Sara Valdez, Middle School Science

Sara has demonstrated a strong commitment to student growth and learning as a resident this year. She is doing an outstanding job working with her mentor and students in the classroom. Sara has shown tremendous growth and development in the residency, her ability to make lessons creative and engaging for her students is to be commended. In addition to her development in the program, she has shown leadership and initiative by applying for The California/UCLA Nanovation Competition. This Nanovation Competition asks students to submit a proposal on and idea that uses nanotechnology to improve their lives. Sara worked with her students to put together the necessary materials and their proposal was accepted for the final competition in May.

New Visions for Public Schools–Hunter College Urban Teacher Residency

Lorinda Davis, Literacy/Reading Intervention

Lorinda has persevered in order to invest in her teaching career. Her experience as a woman of color, mother, and wife of a high school football coach gives her a lens of teaching the whole child. She carries an honest and rigorous approach to teaching: ongoing routines in her reading intervention class paired with student interests at heart. She creates a caring student learning environment that builds trust in order to build literacy skills.

Nashville Teacher Residency

Marie Lewis, 6th Grade ELA

Marie is everything we want in a resident. Her deep love of children and learning was always there as evidenced by her exceptional work as a paraprofessional that resulted in her being nominated to advance to a teacher through our program. During her time in NTR she has achieved top quartile observational scores and our highest professionalism and feedback implementation scores.  Those last two are the most important to us because they evidence what Marie does for kids and how she’s willing to put in the work to grow professionally. We’re graced by Marie choosing to advance her career through NTR, and countless students will benefit from that decision.  Her teaching is outstanding, but it pales in comparison to her love and empathy for the students who need her most.

Old Dominion University Teacher in Residency

Chloe Jordan, Secondary Science

Chloe epitomizes the portrait of a Resident Teacher that we have in mind when we recruit for the program. She is an eager, articulate professional, actively seeking feedback with the goal of meeting the needs of all of her students. She is a joyful educator, holding excellent command of her content. Her belief in the possibilities of all students was reflected in her application when she wrote that all students must be treated with patience, knowledge, and flexibility to ensure their progress and success throughout their journey in education. She is modeling those ideals and is well on her way to becoming an outstanding educator.

Partnerships to Uplift Communities Alumni Teach Project

Daniel Zepeda, 6th Grade History

As a former PUC student and graduate of UCSB, Daniel has returned to his former school as an Alumni Teacher Resident to serve as role model for students. As a resident, he goes above and beyond to provide the best instruction possible for his students, rehearsing lessons and taking initiative to provide proper accommodations for students with special needs. His personable, warm, and optimistic attitude attracts students, parents, and teachers alike. Despite his many responsibilities as a resident, he is a team player and has become huge asset to his school community by planning and executing academic interventions and stepping in to sub in other classes at the school when needed.

Philadelphia Teacher Residency

Nellie Kollar, Earth and Space Science

Nellie has far exceeded the academic expectations in the graduate coursework she is taking at Drexel University. She has also committed to pursuing the ESL Program Specialist as a result of working at her Residency placement site. She is a critically self-reflective practitioner who constantly seeks constructive feedback on her practice. She has a growth mindset with a strong commitment to beginning her career and remaining in Philadelphia Public Schools.  With her mentor teacher, Nellie planned a school wide award ceremony, developed a curriculum for freshmen seminar, and created 9th grade academic and attendance incentives. Individually, she has become an integral part of the school community at Ben Franklin High School as she was the JV boys basketball coach and the art club advisor. It is rare to see this degree of commitment and passion in one’s residency year.

Project Inspire

Jonathan Brown, 1st Grade

Jonathan exemplifies a commitment to student growth and learning by consistently focusing on the social and emotional well-being of his first-grade students. Through intentional structures like morning meetings and with informal support of his voice and presence, Jonathan makes sure that all of his students know that they are loved, respected and cared for. He has also exhibited a powerful voice as a teacher-leader through his willingness to question the assumptions behind the ways that his peers talk about the work of teaching. A key piece of this leadership has been Jonathan’s effort to create a viable network for the teachers of color in Project Inspire and Hamilton County.


(Richmond Teacher Residency)

Andrea Garcia-Plata, 5th Grade

Andrea is the paradigm of a home-grown teacher, committed to giving back to her community as a resident in RTR-Petersburg. She exceeds expectations as evidenced by her students’ academic performance–they posted the highest achievement scores in the 5th grade. Fluent in three languages, she translates for families and teachers. She supports students in and out of her classroom, facilitating peer conversations between ELLs and non-ELLs to assist with language acquisition. Genuine and kind, Andrea generously shares her resources and ideas with other teachers and residents. Her passion for teaching and compassion for students inspire all with whom she works.

San Francisco Teacher Residency

Christine Poon, 7th Grade Math

Christine has developed strong, positive relationships with all of her students and has been able to leverage those relationships, along with her creative lesson planning and deft facilitation of whole class and small group learning tasks, to turn around math learning experiences for a number of her students. She has a complex understanding of equity issues and is working tirelessly to ensure that her classroom is an inclusive place where outcomes are not determined by identity. Working with peers, she contributes confidently through a social justice lens, and her peers always benefit from her insights, collaboration, and passion.

St. Paul Urban Teacher Residency

See Yang, 1st Grade

See entered the program in June 2018 and has been a dedicated student and resident in all her thoughts and actions. She works tirelessly and shows her commitment to her students, cohort members and co-teachers. See demonstrated effectiveness by continuing to be proficient and distinguished in all of her evaluations by both the university supervisor and mentor teacher. She has exhibited qualifies of a good colleague and peer by continually meeting and collaborating with her cohort members to ensure that they are all successful. See has shown leaderships skills and initiative as demonstrated by a local TV news piece that was focused on her work in her first grade classroom.

University of Chicago Urban Teacher Education Program

Raja’Nee Redmond, 7th & 8th Grade ELA

Raja’Nee displays a commitment to student growth and learning by asking lots of questions, putting children’s needs first, and advocating for students’ best interests even when she is faced with opposition. She meets and exceeds program expectations by going above and beyond in the completion of her assignments. She often asks for more responsibility and pushes us to work harder. Raja’Nee is a perfectionist who is committed to her craft. Raja’Nee exhibits leadership skills and initiative by offering to discuss her plans and her teaching with others, and she is always ready to talk with others about theirs. By not being afraid to hold others accountable, Raja’Nee exemplifies the qualities of a good colleague and peer within the cohort. She is willing to engage in uncomfortable conversations and to push people to be better.