NJDOE News

For More Information Contact the Public Information Office:
    Richard Vespucci
    Kathryn Forsyth, Director
    Beth Auerswald
    609-292-1126

For Release: July 2, 2009


‘Recruiting Today’s Students as Tomorrow’s Teachers’

Urban Teacher Academy Provides New Jersey Students with
Opportunities to Respond to Call to Teach Neediest Students

High school students from across New Jersey are preparing to converge on The College of New Jersey July 6-17 to attend an Urban Teacher Academy.  The intensive, two-week summer program is designed to attract students to teaching in high poverty schools or in content areas for which there are critical teacher shortages.

“New Jersey students with the most disadvantages need New Jersey’s best teachers, and they need them now,” said Commissioner of Education Lucille E. Davy.  “Under Governor Corzine’s leadership, we have made a strong commitment to transforming our schools into places where students will be well-equipped with 21st century skills that will enable them to succeed in their careers and future academic endeavors.

“Most vital to making these necessary goals a reality will be how well our teachers can help all students obtain the knowledge and skills they need,” Commissioner Davy continued.  “I commend the Urban Teacher Academy at The College of New Jersey for putting together a substantial learning experience to attract talented young people to teach in our classrooms.”

Forty-nine high school juniors from nearly two dozen area high schools will participate in the program, which carries the theme, “Recruiting Today’s Students as Tomorrow’s Teachers.”  The participating students were selected based on their academic records, essays, teacher recommendations and strong interest in becoming teachers in high poverty schools and / or high shortage subject areas.

Larry Fieber, urban recruitment coordinator for TCNJ, reports that the spots for the summer program have filled up quickly, and there is currently a waiting list of more than 60 students.  TCNJ is the Department of Education’s higher education partner for programs focused on teacher recruitment and professional development funded through a Teacher Quality Enhancement—Recruitment grant from the federal government.  The Urban Academy is one of the programs that TCNJ has developed with support from the grant.

 Teachers and school leaders from various school districts will join faculty members from TCNJ to speak to students and participate in panel discussions on themes such as:

  • Why Become an Urban Teacher?
  • Introduction to Child Development
  • Understanding the Community—Challenges of the Urban Environment
  • The Many Faces of Diversity in Our Classrooms
  • Teaching Math:  The Need, the Challenges, and the Rewards
  • Teaching Gifted and Talented Students

Participating students will complete required reading, as well as various assignments involving writing and discussions with class leaders and their peers.  They will also hear remarks from a variety of speakers, including Eric Thomas, a fourth-grade teacher at Stokes Elementary School, Trenton and Jeanne Muzi, New Jersey’s current Teacher of the Year.  Students will also take academic field trips, including a visit to the capitol complex in Trenton.

NOTE:  Please see attached list of participants in the Urban Teacher Academy. 
NOTE TO EDITORS AND REPORTERS:  To cover this event at TCNJ, please contact:

Emily Weiss Dodd, communications officer, TCNJ, at 609-771-3066.