Photo courtesy of Greenhill School
Since 1991, Greenhill’s Carter Fellowship Program has introduced over 240 young teachers in the Lower School, Fine Arts Department, Athletics Department and more.
The program, named after Lucinda F. Carter and her 35 years of service at Greenhill, primarily focuses on sending young teachers into the world of independent schools. The goal: to provide schools with passionate, committed, well-prepared teachers who are equipped to overcome any issues in their path.
For Greenhill, the Carter Fellowship program is an opportunity to infuse the campus with new ideas and energy. The program strives to nurture and challenge young teachers by pairing them with passionate and skilled master teachers.
Greenhill has four Carter Fellows on campus for the 2020-2021 school year: Ann Easley; Elizabeth Guzman; Vivek Kuppurajan and Emma Sepkowitz.
After working three years with the federal Teach for America program in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Guzman applied for the Carter Fellowship Program.
Guzman says she majored in social work in college and expected to become a school social worker. However, her path changed when she traveled abroad and fell in love with teaching.
Now, with four cohorts of in-person learners and four at-home cohorts as of December, Guzman is teaching the second grade CR Success spelling curriculum.
Guzman says she is content with the grade she teaches; however, she can see herself “going back to teach [pre-kindergarten] like in Oklahoma or staying here in the Lower School.”
According to Guzman, the thing that sparks her love for teaching the most is when she sees the students learning and progressing. This moment is “priceless” and is what makes her love what she does, she said.
Easley, a new first grade teacher who came to Greenhill through the Carter Fellowship program, comes from a family of teachers.
With her mom as an elementary teacher, Easley says she fell in love with not only her career as a teacher, but her surroundings at Greenhill. She loves the people and their welcoming personalities, something that not many schools are able to do, she said.
Feeling valued and seeing everyone as an equal student is one of Greenhill’s exemplary qualities, according to Easley.
Another Carter Fellow is Vivek Kuppurajan who currently teaches in the fourth grade learning lab, instructing students in a mix of vocabulary and math training.
Kuppurajan says the subject provides lots of flexible thinking and that he is enjoying his time at Greenhill.
Kuppurajan says he ended up as a Carter Fellow almost by chance. Teaching had never really been something he thought about much, even though his mother was a teacher at various educational levels and he grew up watching her.
Although he had a sense of what teaching might be like from his own years in a classroom, “it’s a whole other experience actually doing it,” said Kuppurajan.
Teaching four cohorts both in-person and online can be difficult and confusing at times, Kuppurajan said. Still, he loves the teaching environment he has as a teacher at Greenhill.
“Teaching is a rewarding feeling, and it’s just common sense to come back to this amazing place,” Kuppurajan said. “However, first and foremost it feels good.”