A Letter from Managing Director of Programs Bill Kennedy


November 8, 2022 — The state of Minnesota is rich with Native American history and culture, as the Dakota, Ojibwe and other tribal groups established their homes and continue to live on the land as the original founders. In the 1860s, the Native American population in Minnesota had decreased significantly when the governor of Minnesota demanded they leave the state. Fast forward to today, and the population of Native Americans in Minnesota has grown and continues to climb. From 2010-2018, Minnesota has seen a rise in its Native American population, growing from about 93,000 to 107,000.

This growth is important to our teacher residency partners in Minnesota – Southwest Minnesota State University (SMSU), the University of St. Thomas, Minneapolis Special Education Teacher Residency (MSTR), and Saint Paul Public Schools Urban Teacher Residency (SUTR) – that understand the importance of recruiting and preparing teacher residents who reflect the diversity of the communities they serve.

With support from the Margaret A. Cargill Philanthropies, we have been able to provide additional technical assistance to our teacher residency partners as well as develop a lab site in Minnesota to focus on improving the enrollment of Black, Indigenous, people of color (BIPOC) teacher residents and student outcome data. We’re currently doing similar work with our teacher residencies in Texas (Texas Christian University and Dallas College) and Arizona (Arizona Teacher Residency).

MSTR and SUTR along with the University of St. Thomas have worked to apply their learnings of the National Center for Teacher Residencies’ (NCTR) Black Educators Initiative (BEI) to think about supports and programming for a truly multi-racial community of K-12 students and teacher residents, including Native American and Hmong, two populations that are larger in the Twin Cities than most U.S. communities.

Our collaborative work with our teacher residency partners in Minnesota is ambitious and exemplifies the compassion and care our partners have to ensure they are recruiting and retaining effective, diverse, and culturally affirming teacher residents who can engage and meet students where they are.