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Stories from Soundings: Endicott’s Teaching Fellows Program Reaches New Heights

Ian Morris conversing with a colleague
The Van Loan School at Endicott College’s Teaching Fellows Program, which began with seven fellows half a decade ago, has experienced positive growth, now with 37 fellows in 17 school districts across Greater Boston, the North Shore, and Merrimack Valley.

It’s been slow growing but meaningful and purposeful,” says Aubry Threlkeld, director of graduate licensure and fellowship programs. “Our goal is to help our fellows get a job.”

With that goal in mind, fellows are selected from an ever-expanding group of candidates, both internally as well as from other schools in the regions. Applicants can apply for urban or suburban districts with degree options including reading and literacy, special education, and secondary education.

The teaching fellows program is as rigorous as it is rewarding. It’s extremely well-organized and provides a structured path toward graduation and certification. 

Fellows gain a full academic year of resume-building field experience, while the district pays the equivalent of the fellows’ tuition. While in the program, fellows receive guidance and support from expert teachers, advisors, and field supervisors, and work toward initial professional or specialist licensure in Massachusetts.

“The fellows are truly part of the communities they serve,” says Threlkeld. “They show up for faculty meetings, they show up for Individualized Education Plan (IEP) meetings. They are here from the start of school until the end of school, and in that year of service, they’re not only getting an opportunity to practice the skills that they’ve already learned, they gain valuable insight from the other practitioners that are around them.”

Currently serving as a fellow in a Wakefield, Mass., high school is Ian Morris, who graduated from Villanova University in May 2018 with a B.A. in Economics. Morris didn’t initially attend college to become a teacher, but the southern Maine native realized how rewarding a career in the field could be through Villanova’s Rays of Sunshine after-school program. As a junior, Morris finished his economics degree and set his sights on an alternative method for gaining educator licensure—fellowship programs, including the Van Loan School at Endicott College’s offering.

“The teaching fellows program is as rigorous as it is rewarding,” says Morris. “It’s extremely well-organized and provides a structured path toward graduation and certification. The staff—from the administration down to the individual professors—are professional, kind, understanding, and quick to offer a helping hand. They are prompt in providing needed information and additional resources. For me this was extremely important.”

Morris adds, “This program helps transform teachers inside the classroom by demanding more of them outside the classroom. It shows us as teachers that there is so much to study and learn about our practice. We should constantly be working outside the classroom to continue evolving and improving our approach. The academics are rigorous, but they go to show us how effective we can be as teachers if we allocate our time well. I’ve already noticed the transformations occurring in my practice, and I look forward to what the rest of the year has to offer.”

Student Success Story

Grace Leonard is a 2018-19 fellow directly from Endicott College’s undergraduate education program, with a focus in elementary education. She’s currently working as a fellow in Newburyport, Mass., while obtaining her master’s degree and professional licensure in moderate disabilities PreK-12.

"I am transforming my ideas by learning new things from both general education teachers and special education teachers,” says Leonard. “I am evolving into an actual staff member this year, whereas last year I felt that I was in the role of a student learning more about teaching."

Her lifelong goal has been to be an elementary school teacher, and she’s on her way through her placement in a fifth-grade classroom as an instructional assistant and special education co-teacher.

Learn more about the application process for the 2019-20 academic year and other graduate education degree offerings at

This article is featured in the Winter 2019 edition of Soundings, the Endicott College magazine that highlights happenings in our community such as academic program enhancements, alumni spotlights, student successes, campus news, sports highlights, faculty accolades, and community successes.