Mount presents Teach the Change conference

May 03, 2017

Amanda L. Aiken, senior director for schools for New Orleans college prep charter schools, discussed the ins and outs of the teaching profession at Mount Saint Mary College’s Teach the Change event on May 1. 


Mount Saint Mary College hosted its annual Teach the Change conference – a career development event for teacher candidates, high school students interested in becoming educators, and their mentors – on Monday, May 1.

About 200 people attended the conference, which featured an introduction by keynote speaker Amanda L. Aiken, senior director for schools for New Orleans college prep charter schools.

“The goal of education is to interrupt poverty, and the goal of education is to end suffering,” said Aiken. “These two quotes are why I’m committed to this work.”

Sometimes teaching can be tough, Aiken explained, but it’s one of the most rewarding career paths.

“It’s not easy,” she said. “You’ll have bumps along the way. You’ll make mistakes. But you have to get up, show that fire, love, and determination, and keep going.”

Teach the Change is a comprehensive initiative of the Mount’s Division of Education, coordinated in conjunction with the Center for Adolescent Research and Development (CARD), under the leadership of Frances Spielhagen, Mount education professor.

The initiative has three major focus areas:

  • Continuing to strengthen the teaching profession in the programs provided by the college.
  • Creating a pipeline of teacher candidates from area high schools, especially first- generation college students and those who may be underrepresented in the teaching profession.
  • Enhancing the current teaching force by providing teacher leadership training for area educators.

The Mount was recently named a Teacher Opportunity Corps (TOC) higher education institution and the Teach the Change initiative was awarded a five-year New York State TOC grant. Over the next five years, the Teach the Change initiative will receive funding of $39,000 per year to nurture and mentor minority and/or economically disadvantaged candidates and prepare them to teach in at-risk school districts in New York State.

Teach the Change is a recruiting vehicle for TOC, a component of the New York State My Brother’s Keeper initiative. The purpose of TOC is to increase the participation rate of historically underrepresented and economically disadvantaged individuals in teaching careers.

The event was sponsored by the Mount’s Division of Education, CARD, the college’s Sigma Tau chapter of Kappa Delta Pi (the International Honor Society of Education), and Teacher Opportunity Corps.