This year, NCTR is honoring our first-ever Resident of the Year. The award celebrates the hard work, diligence and enthusiasm of the candidates who are preparing for careers in teaching with one of our 25 Network Partners. For the award, we asked each of our partners to nominate one resident 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

Each program leader submitted a short essay on the strengths and assets of their nominees. In the excerpts below (some of which were slightly edited for context and length) it is clear that the nominees bring a wide range of experience and a diverse background to their teaching.

NCTR will announce the Resident of the Year Award winner on May 15 during our annual Symposium. We are excited to share a more robust interview with our award winner after the announcement.

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

Victoria Lockwood, Alder Teacher Residency at Aspire, Central Valley, Kindergarten

Tori Lockwood

Victoria, lovingly known as “Tori” by her cohort and teammates, is action oriented, and puts feedback into immediate practice. She enjoys helping other residents by providing ideas, resources, and her time. She goes above and beyond to find the good in all students and keeps good communication with families. Tori also advocates for herself and collaborates with others by asking questions of onsite experts: speech therapists, ed specialists, mentors, etc. Overall, Tori will jump in and try anything with an “I can” attitude.

Rita Lopez, Alder Teacher Residency at Aspire, Los Angeles, Transitional Kindergarten – 5 Science

Rita Lopez

Rita has been a dedicated, thoughtful and astute teacher resident. She not only has taken on the task of co-teaching 400 students in science, but has just recently started co-teaching middle school science, too. She knows all her students’ names, strengths, and has an accurate assessment of their content knowledge. She is joyful, positive and kind with her school-based faculty, staff and residency cohort. Just by being herself, she is a strong, quiet leader. As a woman of color, and an undergraduate biology major, Rita has positioned herself as a role model for girls in science.

Jennifer Ackta, Alder Teacher Residency at Aspire, Memphis , 1st Grade
Jennifer Powell (Ackta)

Jen embodies all of the core values of Aspire Public Schools—Collaboration, Quality, Customer Service, Purposefulness, and Ownership. She is an incredibly effective classroom culture builder, lesson internalizer and teammate. She is on the Dean’s List for Relay GSE. She also takes on roles outside of her classroom, and inside the community. For example, she helped host a parent math night in February.

Andy Chinchilla, Alder Teacher Residency at Aspire, SF Bay Area, Transitional Kindergarten

Andy Chinchilla

Andy is dedicated, persistent, and relentless in his pursuit to become an effective educator. Despite challenges that came up during his training, Andy has remained flexible and understanding. He has gone above and beyond to support his mentors and his school site by taking initiative over his own learning. While in the classroom, Andy has focused on building relationships with students and families by honoring the assets that each child brings to the classroom. Andy is highly reflective of his practice and actively integrates feedback. Within the resident community, Andy is a leader. He listens to others, provides support, and models professionalism.

Makenna Tretinik, Alder Teacher Residency at KIPP, SF Bay Area, 7th Grade English Language Arts

Makenna Tretinik

Makenna exudes professionalism, thoughtfulness and integrity. She constantly pushes herself and everyone around her to improve. According to assessments, Makenna had the highest performance in her cohort. Her class culture is remarkable for a novice educator. She can facilitate a small group and manage the whole class. She has facilitated student-led discourse and regularly plans based off of student data. During group discussions with her cohort, she beautifully synthesizes the author’s purpose and connects it to student and peer growth. Makenna has been a leader for her cohort and a support for her peers.

Brenden Harrison, Boettcher Teacher Residency, 10th-12th Grade Math

Brenden Harrison V2

Brenden is an exceptional resident who consistently exemplifies commitment, passion, and professionalism. When it comes to his seminar coursework, Brenden is engaged, invested, and reflective. In his classroom placement, Brenden knows his content extremely well, goes above and beyond to effectively collaborate with his mentor and his coach, and has worked hard to form strong relationships with his students. At the end of summer institute, Brenden approached the instructors to thank the team and to introduce himself. He explained that he is quiet, especially amongst large groups, so he wanted to be sure we knew his name and knew that he was really excited for the year ahead. Not only do we know his name, we know him to be an outstanding resident, leading his peers by example—through hard work, commitment and passion.

Angelica McGhee, Dallas Teacher Residency3rd Grade

Angelica McGhee

Angelica joined Dallas Teacher Residency, following a year of substitute teaching at a Title-1 elementary school in Phoenix, Arizona. Following her year of substitute teaching, Angelica was offered an opportunity to join the school as a teacher while pursuing an alternative teacher certification pathway. She chose to postpone her entry into full-time teaching in order to focus on purposeful clinical teaching and coursework that aligned theory and practice.

Having been described by her principal “as the absolute best program resident she has had the opportunity to host,” Angelica truly embodies the mission, vision, and values of the Dallas Teacher Residency. She has an innate desire to contribute to the teaching profession as a leader, has demonstrated the ability to drive student academic outcomes, and most importantly, embraces a growth mindset.

Vany Miramontes, Denver Student Teacher Residency, 4th Grade English Language Arts, English/Spanish

Vany Miramontes

Vany is a graduate of Denver Public Schools and current undergraduate at the University of Colorado Denver. Vany will graduate in May with her BA, initial educator license and CLDE endorsement. Vany believes that you can make positive changes in students lives by: 1) giving back to the community; 2) modeling anything is possible with perseverance; 3) showing that success is achievable despite the many challenges that come with being an individual subject to marginalization (language learner, person of color, poverty, etc.); and 4) fighting for equitable opportunities for all, both in and outside of education.

Vany easily builds positive relationships with her students, colleagues and school leadership, in part by sharing her personal story and facing and overcoming challenges with courage and grace. She teaches in both Spanish and English, is already a master at instructional delivery and differentiated daily instruction. During observations of her practice, evaluators said her lesson was one of the best they had ever seen from a resident, and that she was on par with mentor teachers. Vany is an exceptional student, a joy to be around and an inspiration to all who meet her. It is obvious she cares deeply for the social-emotional and academic well being of the students she serves, as well as that of the surrounding community. She received multiple job offers for next year and decided to stay at her residency site school as a teacher of record.

Tyiesha Hoskins, East Harlem Teaching Residency, 4th Grade

Tyiesha Hoskins

Tyiesha puts young people at the center of every choice she makes. She demonstrates respect for the voices and experiences of all students. At the beginning of every class, she gauges students’ emotional well being and works with them to reflect on emotions. Tyiesha supports her scholars in developing their own voices, whether they are taking on the personalities of their alter egos or engaging in complex debates about race and identity.

Tyiesha has developed her leadership skills by supporting fellow residents in planning and development, publicly celebrating coworkers when they show achievement, and putting her phenomenal social work skills to use by supporting her colleagues through some difficult conversations.
After each lesson, Tyiesha reflects on her own teaching and the experiences of her scholars to find ways to improve her practice. She willingly shares videos of her own teaching and takes feedback to heart.

Adam Martin, Jacksonville Teacher Residency, 9-12th Grade Algebra, Chemistry, Physical Science

Adam Martin Photo

Adam displays a commitment to student growth and learning by planning engaging lessons and continuously reflecting on lessons through a critical justice lens. He exceeds expectations in his course work and clinical practice, as evident by his exemplary deliverables and immediate implementation of feedback. As a first-generation college student, Adam has become empowered by his own educational journey. This makes him an advocate of higher education and empathetic to his students’ needs. His interactions with his peers are always positive and supportive. Adam is a humble, assertive leader who lights the path for students by meeting their individual academic and personal needs each day.

Shamara Moore, Kansas City Teacher Residency, 6th Grade Science

Shamara Moore

Shamara has been a leader within her cohort since the beginning of the residency year. She takes full ownership of her learning through her coursework and applies her lessons to her instructional delivery “at-bats” in her classroom. Prior to joining the Kansas City Teacher Residency she was teaching, but has noted that her professional growth in the last year would not have been as great without the residency program.

Shamara has taken the initiative to become an accountability partner for others in the program. Whether they need a person to study with, a call to ensure they are on time to class, or a thought partner, she is always the first person to volunteer to support. As a result of her leadership we have seen a positive impact on her peers. These leadership qualities also carry over into her clinical placement at KIPP. She is constantly pushing the rigor in her classroom, collaborating with colleagues, and seeking opportunities to learn and grow. Her impact was highlighted when she received an award from the teachers at KIPP recognizing her positive influence.

Alyssa Solis, Los Angeles Urban Teacher Residency, High School Biology

Alyssa Solis

Alyssa demonstrates an outstanding commitment to excellence in the Los Angeles Urban Teacher Residency and an unwavering commitment to the students at her school. Alyssa has a passion for outdoor education and dreamed of taking students to locations that are typically inaccessible to students of color. As fate would have it, Alyssa’s school, John Muir High School, has a program called Outward Bound Adventures, which is dedicated to providing students with outdoor education experiences. Alyssa immediately became very involved with the program and has gone beyond the call of duty to create amazing experiences for students and the community.

Mary Grace Padgett, Memphis Teacher Residency, Kindergarten

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Mary Grace is an asset on her team, and consistently makes meaningful contributions during Professional Learning Community meetings. She has served as an edTPA tutor to support her peers in fulfilling the state requirements. Her peers have reflected on how her leadership has impacted them during the edTPA process. She is diligent in her resident responsibilities and exceeds her coach and mentor requirements.

Faith Metcalf, Nashville Teacher Residency, 5th Grade Math

Faith Metcalf

Faith has done a remarkable job of tying her learning to student outcomes throughout this school year. Not only does she make connections between her development as a practitioner and her students’ learning, she also tracks assessment data to compare student achievement in her sections and those in sections taught primarily by her mentor teacher. Faith far exceeds the thresholds our program maintains for professionalism and feedback implementation. Her ability to progress as quickly as she has is largely attributable to her eagerness to partner with and receive feedback from her mentor teacher and grade-level team.

Kate Eddon, New Visions-Hunter College Urban Teacher Residency, 10th Grade English


Kate continuously meets the program benchmarks and scores in the top quartile of the cohort. She submits high quality deliverables on time and organizes her resources effectively. In terms of effectiveness, from the start of the program she has worked diligently to understand her students’ needs and meet them. Kate’s Defense of Learning presentation, which assesses a candidate’s impact on student learning, earned her the highest score in the coho

Kate collaborates with her mentor as a true co-teacher. She comes to learning opportunities prepared, is open to feedback, and contributes by offering resources, ideas and suggestions. Kate is a wife and mother that effectively balances the significant responsibilities of coursework and the demands of teaching at a high performing school. Kate’s positive attitude, work ethic and unmistakable professionalism have made her a standout in the cohort.

Arely Franco, Partnerships to Uplift Communities Schools – Alumni Teach Project8th Grade History

Arely Franco

As a first-generation college graduate, Arely realized that education was a way to provide equity to students like her. Arely strives to provide opportunities for the students from her community to think critically about the world and navigate the systems that are set up against them. She builds and maintains authentic relationships with her students and peers and is a strong advocate for culturally responsive teaching. Extremely reflective and open to feedback, Arely sets a positive tone for her cohort as she consistently challenges her own assumptions and biases.

Catherine Casselman, Project Inspire, 1st Grade

Catherine Casselman

Catherine does more than show up for school everyday and excel in her graduate courses. She actively seeks opportunities to connect with other change-makers and advocates through community workshops. She takes control of her own learning, finding new books to shape her perspective as a teacher—one of which is now incorporated into our graduate course. She is vocal in her belief in students and has built incredibly meaningful relationships with her students. Catherine embodies positivity, growth mindset, a belief in students, initiative, perseverance—hallmarks of a great teacher.

Evan Flynn, Richmond Teacher Residency, Special Education, 8th Grade Civics

Evan Flynn's Photo

Evan is deeply reflective, considerate, and humble. He consistently applies coursework lessons to his developing professional practice. He seeks coach, professor, peer, and student feedback to improve effectiveness. Evan models inclusivity and wants first to understand context in any situation. His peers feel heard and seek his guidance. Evan links content to students’ lives, which ensures their engagement and learning. While sharing veggies from his lunch, Evan articulates his goals, high expectations, and behavior-specific praise to guide his students. Evan took the initiative to plan a community outing for peers. He also shared scholarly articles, reflection questions, and a poem, providing context for the organization serving LGBTQ+ middle schoolers.

Megan Morey, Seattle Teacher Residency, K-5 Special Education

Megan Morey

Megan Morey is pursuing a special education teaching career in a poverty-impacted setting. Coming in with little experience in special education, she has stood out in performance. Throughout a very intense program, Megan has remained focused, professional, and present, always putting in 100 percent effort. She demonstrates deep commitment to social justice and student learning, exemplified through observations and her own reflection about her practice. She has consistently met (and mostly exceeded) program requirements. Her classroom presence and interactions with students is impressive. Equally impressive is her interaction with her colleagues as a quiet leader.

Danielle Daniels, St. Paul Urban Teacher Residency, K-12 Academic Behavioral Strategist, Special Education

Danielle Daniels_First one on left

Danielle is focused on student growth, demonstrated effectiveness, is a good colleague, and exhibits leadership skills. Danielle is continually looking for the strengths in her students and doing what it takes to make them the best they can be. Being a single parent, she has been able to prioritize the demands of her coursework, clinical expectations and home responsibilities to maintain effectiveness in all areas. She is a leader in the cohort and continually pushes others to maintain high standards. She attends events hosted by our program and represents her cohort with pride.

Brittany Jessen, University of South Dakota, Secondary English

Brittany Jessen

Brittany will graduate in May 2018 with a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Secondary English Education. Brittany is not only an exemplary teacher, she is also an outstanding University of South Dakota volleyball player.

Academically, Brittany was selected as a Top 30 Candidate for the National NCAA Senior Class Division1 Award, with notable achievements in Community, Classroom, Character and Competition. Brittany builds incredible rapport with students and plans and implements engaging, relevant and rigorous lessons. She takes what is learned in coursework and implements it in her instruction. She is truly committed to being an effective teacher and seeks every opportunity to do so. Brittany sets goals and achieves them; she is an exemplary role model for educators.

Phebe Myers, University of Chicago Urban Teacher Education Program, 5th Grade Social Studies

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Phebe is compassionate and loving with her peers and the students she teaches. She creates and maintains strong relationships in all aspects of her work. She is dedicated to social justice and understands the importance of culturally relevant instruction. Phebe is a great collaborator and graciously navigates difficult but important conversations. She’s aware of her position in regards to others, and takes great care to make others feel respected. Phebe is extremely coachable because she loves to learn and is always open to feedback. Phebe is one of our best and brightest.