Talking to ... Dr. Kimberly Mayfield

KMLTalking to Dr. Kimberly Mayfield, Dean of Education, Holy Names University and Teachers Apprenticeship Program Principal Investigator

On ... Best Practices for Urban Teaching Series

Dr. Mayfield's discussion of the lecture series emphasizes the importance of changing the negative narrative about urban schools while empowering urban teachers to serve as community advocates in this political moment.  

[ What Is Your Perspective on Why the Holy Names University / Teacher Apprenticeship Program's  "Urban Teaching Series" is Important? ]

This series is important because it showcases the deep knowledge and the teaching expertise of urban educators in urban public schools. Most media coverage of urban schools focuses on student underperformance and challenging work environments. I wanted to create a series that focuses on the assets of urban schools and urban educators.

 [ When You Say "Teacher Activism During Neo-Liberal Times and the Navigation of Systems to Save Public Schools" ... What Do You Mean? ]

The theme of the upcoming teacher series teacher activism during neo-liberal times, refers to the actions teachers can take to resist the corporatization of public schools.   Specifically, the actions teachers can take to resist the corporate takeover of public schools. Teachers are keenly positioned to advocate for policies that impact community through their classrooms. Their activism can and typically does take many different forms, be it speaking out against an oppressive policy, marching against the reduction of school psychologists or the elimination of school counselors.

[ How Did Your Mentor Dr. Kitty Kelly Epstein Influence Your Point of View? ]

Oh my God! how much time do you have? She is the definition of an educator activist. She is always involved in making education better for black and brown students. She is a stand for diversity in the teaching force. Kitty knows the importance of a good education and good job. She has worked tirelessly to remove barriers to the teaching profession for African American and Latino candidates. In addition to training teachers to be effective in urban schools,  she started out as a high school English teacher in San Francisco and Oakland. So she knows how teachers need to be prepared to be effective. I was fortunate to have her as one of my professors when I pursued my Multiple Subject teaching credential in the early 1990’s. After meeting in this capacity, she began to invite me to participate in various activities like speaking to the Oakland Unified School District Board about teacher diversity and my credential program. She is an expert community organizer and continues to influence local politics through  activism and persistence.

[ How is the HNU/TAP program funded and for how long? ]

We were very fortunate to receive a 5.1 million dollar grant from the Transition to Teach program run by the US Department of Education in 2011. The grant was for 5 years and we were able to get a no cost extension for a 6th year.

[ Tell us briefly about your vision and plans for the Teacher Diversity Project plans to sustain the TAP effort? ]

The Teacher Diversity Project will be the next phase of the work started by the Teacher Apprenticeship Program. The purpose of TAP was to recruit teachers for middle and high school positions in three local school districts:  Oakland, Hayward and West Contra Costa.

When I became the principal investigator in 2015, I refined the focus to do local recruitment, “Local Citizens for Local Schools.” The Teacher Diversity Project will continue to recruit and place local citizens in teaching positions in local school districts, but instead of focusing on middle and high school teachers, we will also recruit candidates for elementary schools and special education positions.  One of the most essential elements of the work is assisting teacher candidates to pass the tests for entry into the profession. We will continue to provide test preparation for those who need it.

Another aspect of the work is providing a rich summer teaching experience for candidates with a master teacher.  In order to continue the work started we will need to fundraise to pay for the program in the way that the grant did.



To learn more about HNU/TAP, visit www.hnu/