Teachers of color effort grows to meet student, state needs
PULLMAN, Wash. – A longtime program to increase the number of underrepresented students who become teachers, principals and education leaders has a new coordinator and a new name.
Assistant professor of teaching and learning Brenda Barrio will serve as faculty coordinator for the Alhadeff Future Teachers of Color program. The name honors Seattle businessman and former Washington State University regent Ken Alhadeff, long a champion of the program.
“Kenny and his wife, Marleen, have provided tremendous support for this program throughout the years, including financial support,” said Mike Trevisan, dean of the College of Education. “This seems a fitting tribute to Kenny’s passion and generosity.”
In addition to the Alhadeff’s constant support, in 2000 the program became the university’s first endowed minority program when it was funded in perpetuity by a gift from the estate of James Taylor, a Bellevue, Wash., music teacher and WSU graduate.
Teacher diversity lags
Barrio will work closely with the WSU Office of Student Affairs and Enrollment to identify students for the program. She’ll work with principals and counselors and make high school visits for recruitment purposes.
“It’s an incredibly important work that needs to be done,” she said. “We have a diverse student population that is growing, but our teacher diversity isn’t keeping pace in public schools.”
Helping Barrio will be this year’s two undergraduate ambassadors for the future teachers of color program, Tenika Eddings and Sarah Nolet.
“(Barrio) is timely in her responses and always follows through,” Eddings said. “She is accountable and I appreciate her willingness to help students in the education community.”
“We want to mentor future teachers in order to best prepare them to be successful in any system,” Barrio said. “This will positively impact those teachers, and also the diverse communities in our state.”
Motivating students and teachers
Future teachers at WSU recently received preparation through the annual future teachers of color conference. They learned the importance of good character skills as a foundation for motivating students and considered the classroom struggles facing children who are adopted.
“I really liked the broad range of topics discussed,” said Angie Hammond, College of Education student services director and former coordinator of the future teachers of color program who will work closely with Barrio during the transition. “It was set up this year to really go outside the normal presentations.”
“My hope is that our annual conference will keep on prospering and encourage more students of color to become educators,” Eddings said. “I want this organization to be a safe place where not only students of color come for support but all students come for support.”