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Meet Three Urban Teacher Residents

Jennifer wrightJennifer Elizabeth Wright 

Resident Intern — Arcadia Elementary School, kindergarten 

Bachelor’s Degree — Michigan State University, James Madison College 

I have always wanted to be a teacher. The thought of going back to college to complete another degree was daunting. I was invited to an information session (for the Urban Teacher Residency) and decided to apply. It seemed like a perfect fit and a fantastic opportunity that could not be passed up. The residency program offers a myriad of supports that the normal channels did not offer. 

I want to provide an environment for students that is peaceful, productive and fun! I want students to look forward to going to school. I enjoy connecting with my students and witnessing their successes. 

The biggest challenge is juggling all of the demands placed on educators while keeping the needs of students paramount. 

Fun fact: I have a third-degree black belt in tae kwon do. 


barkmanCaroline Barkman 

Resident Intern — Woodward School for Technology and Research, PEEP 

Bachelor’s degree — Western Michigan University, College of Health and Human Services, interdisciplinary health service 

Through internships and volunteering with KPS, I realized that my passion is working with children. I learned about this new program from a KPS email. One reason that I applied for this program is that I want to be a certified teacher and make a difference. This program looks appealing to me because it is short and also allows me to work and take classes at the same time. Regardless, this program requires a lot of work and determination. 

I see many challenges that teachers face, such as not having enough time to do lesson planning, multiple roles (psychology, social work, counselor) and also pressure from performance, balancing the different needs of students, and many other challenges. Working as a teacher is not a job that you work just to get paid. We also work for the feeling that we are educating and creating healthy future generations. 

Fun fact: I am a long distance runner. I enjoy outdoor and indoor rock climbing. I am also a mother of three children. 


jonesElita Jones 

Resident Intern — Milwood Elementary School, autistic self-contained controlled room for K-fourth grade 

Bachelor’s Degree — De Montfort University, Leicester, England, English and business studies 

I was a stay-at-home mom for 15 years, my youngest started Kindergarten this fall, and I wanted to pursue my teaching certificate. This program appealed to me because I was planning to be a substitute teacher and work on getting accredited to teach. While I was researching which program I wanted to do at WMU, I found out about UTRP. I like that I can work at a school full-time and do the accelerated program at the same time. I am a mature student. I need to work and go to school at the same time and this program provided both.

I believe every child deserves a good quality education, irrespective of their socioeconomics, environment, disability, or background. A good education can change a person’s life, and it is one thing no one can take from you. I want to be the teacher who creates a safe, welcoming environment, where students want to learn and do their best. 

I enjoy working with the autistic children and other children who learn differently. It is about figuring out how they learn and connecting with them. Being a paraprofessional in an autistic contained classroom has taught me the true meaning of equity. No two kids in my class have the same ability, but the objective is to get them to their goals. As a teacher, you need to figure out what method works best for each student. 

Fun fact: I loved baking when I was a teenager.