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Teachers of Promise recognized from Virginia State University

Event honors 100 students in education teacher training programs across state
Virginia State University students honored at the Teachers of Promise Institute included Kamryn Goode, Kendrick Mason, Ashantee Newsome, Cameron Chambers, and Diamond Redd.

The Teachers of Promise Institute recently convened at the Thomas R. Fulghum Conference Center in Midlothian, Va, on March 22 and 23. This institute, born out of the vision of practicing Virginia public school educators in 2001, draws inspiration from the esteemed Milken Educator Awards, aiming to elevate the teaching profession to its deserved pedestal while igniting a passion for impactful teaching across the Commonwealth.

Among the distinguished attendees were university students from 20 schools of education across Virginia, including a cohort of promising educators from Virginia State University (VSU) – Kamryn Goode, Cameron Chambers, Kendrick Mason, Diamond Redd, and Ashantee Newsome.

“I wasn’t really sure of what to expect,” Mason said. “I knew to expect to meet new people, I knew to expect to be challenged, and I knew to expect a good time.”

Kendrick Mason receives his Teachers of Promise pin from one of his two mentors at the Friday evening dinner.

However, the weekend exceeded expectations for Mason, particularly in reconnecting with a mentor and role model, Dr. Shameka Gerald, renowned for her advocacy in educational justice. Mason emphasized the significance of having a sponsor like Dr. Gerald, who not only mentored but also actively connected him with influential figures in education, fostering his growth as a future educator.

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Reflecting on the sessions, Mason highlighted the profound impact of TOP Mentor Lauren Jensen’s presentation on Family and Community Engagement. He emphasized the importance of rekindling the traditional role of teachers as respected members of the community, deeply involved in the lives of their students and their families. 

Mason echoed the sentiment that engaging families in education is pivotal, as what teachers impart often extends beyond the classroom, shaping entire families.

The overarching theme of the institute centered on nurturing relationships – not only with peers and mentors but also with one’s future self. 

Mason articulated the pledge made by attendees to strive for excellence, passion, and dedication in their journey as educators, echoing the sentiment shared by Wade Whitehead, founder of Teachers of Promise Foundation.

Whitehead underscored the vital role of teachers in shaping the future of public-school classrooms, emphasizing that teacher quality is the foremost school-controlled variable influencing student learning. He stressed the imperative to attract, develop, and retain exceptional teaching talent, essential for fostering creative, student-centered instruction in classrooms of the future.

As the weekend came to a close, Mason expressed gratitude to everyone who made the event possible, acknowledging the collective effort to recognize and nurture the potential of aspiring educators. He concluded with a poignant reminder that the journey to change the world begins with individual classrooms, one child, and one heart at a time.

Throughout the weekend, the students from Virginia State University’s School of Education received information and encouragement from the Teachers of Promise Institute.

Through recognition, mentorship, and a commitment to excellence, individuals like Kamryn Goode, Cameron Chambers, Kendrick Mason, Diamond Redd, and Ashantee Newsome from Virginia State University will shape the classrooms of tomorrow. As they embark on their journey, armed with knowledge, passion, and a sense of purpose, they carry with them the torch of excellence, lighting the way for generations to come.

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