The teacher cohort prepared puzzle pieces marking their individual journeys and joined them together to form the letters of UVEI.

UVEI’s second annual Celebration of Learning took place on June 8, 2024 at Colby Sawyer College in New London, NH. Teacher candidates, principal candidates, and literacy educators showcased some of their learning from the year with their cohort peers, mentors and colleagues, UVEI board and advisory council members, and friends and family. In the morning, culminating presentations inspired conversations around deeper learning units, school improvement projects, and equity in literacy instruction and assessment. Conversations and reflections continued over lunch, and candidates and guests then broke into cohort groups, closing the program year together with appreciation, stories, cohort rituals, and a few tears. One candidate described this perfectly, as “a supportive and encouraging environment, [that] underscored the value of community and collaboration in the field of education.”

 

John Lellos (PIP ‘24) and Bridget Lavin (TIP ‘24) talk about Bridget’s deeper learning unit and shared memories of Newfound Regional High School.

Some of the greatest highlights of this event are the connections forged and renewed amongst educators, both within and across cohorts. This year there was a unique cross-cohort connection between Bridget Lavin (TIP ‘24) and John Lellos (PIP ‘24): John had been Bridget’s teacher when Bridget was a student at Newfound Regional High School! John is now the school’s Assistant Principal, and Bridget is planning to teach at New Hampton Elementary School, in the same district, next year. When Bridget was presenting her deeper learning unit on place value in second grade math, she and John were able to catch up. John reflects “All the deeper learning projects presented by the  teacher interns brought me both hope and inspiration. As an educator, you always wonder in the back of your mind whether or not your school is doing enough to prepare graduates for the future. Watching Bridget present her project and complete the UVEI teacher internship program was a good reminder that what we do at Newfound Regional High School works.” Bridget, in turn, commented that “Knowing [John] as one of the high school teachers and now seeing him at this pivotal point in my own teaching journey was a full-circle moment. It was exciting to reconnect and share our thoughts and hard work throughout our time at UVEI.”

“It was exciting to reconnect and share our thoughts and hard work throughout our time at UVEI.” – Bridget Lavin, TIP ’24

Literacy candidates Wanda Vaughan and Kelley Lehman discuss their growth with UVEI Literacy Program Coordinator Kristen Liu.

Thoughts and hard work were indeed another highlight of the event, front and center throughout the day. During a different part of the morning, Wanda Vaughan (Literacy ‘25) and Kelley Lehman (Literacy ‘25) reflected on their completion of their first year of the Literacy Educators Program and the ways that they have already applied their learning to the work they do in their respective schools. Wanda, who teaches at Bradford Elementary School in VT, noted that she was inspired by the equity focus and that “there was no area [of her teaching] that didn’t shift in response.” Kelley, a literacy instructional leader at Maple Wood Elementary School in NH, similarly commented that “I have higher expectations now for myself and my district.”

 

Bridget and John, Kelley and Wanda, are just a few examples of the teachers and educational leaders who have pushed themselves this year to learn and grow in their learning and leadership. It has been a privilege for us to be a part of their journey, and that of all of these educators, over the course of the year. We are grateful to end our year with such a powerful marker of learning and growth!

Jill Collins (PIP and MEd ‘24) introduces her young daughter to Sara Lewis (PIP ‘24).
Principal candidate Hannah Parker presents her school improvement project on rethinking her high school’s “advisory” time.

 

Teacher candidate Abbie Castriotta discusses her deeper learning unit on birds with principal candidates Dane VanNosdeln and Terha Steen.
Faculty coach Chris Ward points to a puzzle piece as he reminisces with teacher candidates and family members.

Written by Marie McCormick (Registrar and Operations Associate) and Elijah Hawkes (Director of School Leadership Programs)

Cover photo: Teacher candidates (L to R) Kaitlyn Veracka, Lianna Dunten, and Alissa Hebert pose in front of representations of deeper learning units that they designed this year.