Meet our Residents: Jerano Gooden

JERANO GOODEN

Hometown: Montego Bay, Jamaica

Before UTR: Before UTR Jerano was working on his bachelors degree full-time and also working full-time as a Registrar in the MRI department at Winthrop University Hospital located in Mineola, NY.

“I knew that I didn't want to work in a hospital for the rest of my life, but I wasn't sure what I should do. I knew I wanted to touch lives and leave a positive legacy behind me, one that my family and future children can be proud of. I always enjoyed tutoring and teaching Sunday school at my church, but I didn't know if I had what it took to be a classroom teacher. My wife, who is also a teacher, inspired and encouraged me to pursue a career in teaching. I majored in Biology Education at Brooklyn College and was doing well in my classes, but had to change my major back to biology because the student teaching conflicted with my schedule. I knew I still wanted to be a teacher, but I just had to find another way to go about it.

This leads me to what brought me to UTR. I applied to the teaching fellows in hopes of getting an opportunity to teach right out of college. As a result UTR sent me information and encouraged me to apply. I was reluctant at first, because of the severe pay cut I would have to take, but after doing a lot of research, comparing, praying, and soul searching, I decided that UTR was the best fit for me. I feel that UTR is one of the best programs out there for preparing individuals to teach in the inner city. We are not just given a few classes and then thrown into a classroom. We are actually guided and supported throughout the whole process. This support and guidance is what won me over. With the help of UTR I know that I will become the teacher I desire to be; a teacher who changes lives."

Residency Year: Jerano spent his residency year teaching high school biology at the Academy for Careers in Television and Film in Long Island City, New York.

Jerano is teaching high school biology at West Brooklyn Community High School.

APRIL GREESON

Hometown: Bremerton, Washington State

Before UTR: April graduated from the University of Washington in 2008 with degrees in English and Drama. April had known that teaching was a possible passion, but she wanted to see if working in a school would be a good fit. April participated in AmeriCorps with the Washington Reading Corps, tutoring elementary school students. After a rewarding year, she continued AmeriCorps service with City Year New York, moving across the country to work with students in the Hunts Point Area of the South Bronx. City Year helped April realize that she did want to work with students in New York City! April then took another year long detour working with middle school students in East Harlem with Citizen Schools New York, a nonprofit that expands the learning day. It was through these varied experiences that April realized she was ready for the classroom as a teacher and how excited she was to work in New York City.

"The Urban Teacher Residency appealed to me because of all of the supports and collaboration. There are many people around you that want to see you successful, and who in turn fuel the fire for your work. I have a network of administrators, New Visions Staff, Hunter College Faculty, teachers, mentors, and fellow residents to turn to who have varied experiences and skill sets. If I need advice or need to talk through something, there is someone who can help me. Collaborating so closely with a mentor through a year in a school also appealed to me because it allows me to slowly but surely take on more responsibilities while completing the requirements for my teaching certification and Masters Degree. By the end of the year I will be ready to teach full-time without feeling like I can't juggle it all. It was really important for me to set myself up for success in my future classroom, because my students count on me to be the best teacher I can be! UTR will ensure my success in the long run."

Residency Year: April spent her residency year teaching special education at Hillcrest High School.

April is teaching special education at Bronx Academy for Health Careers.

JONATHAN ROTHMAN

Hometown: Atlanta, Georgia

Before UTR: Jonathan played in a band and toured the world. Before that, he worked as a marine and fisheries biologist.

"I had just started an education masters at Hunter when I overheard current residents of the Urban Teacher Residency discussing the program. As soon as I heard them describe UTR, most notably its focus on supported experience in the classroom, I immediately recognized the incredible opportunity the program presented. So often students' education suffers while a first year teacher gains his or her footing in the classroom. The residency's mentorship program minimizes or eliminates this entirely. I'm so thankful that I'll be able to hone my teaching skills while my students grow along with me."

Residency Year: Jonathan spent his residency year teaching high school math at the High School for Telecommunication Arts and Technology in Brooklyn.

Johnathan is teaching math at High School for Community Leadership.

OMAR SHARIF

Hometown: Far Rockaway Queens, and Merrick, Long Island

Before UTR: Omar was a kitchen designer for The Home Depot.

"UTR was the best suited program to allow me to live my dreams of teaching. It's the sort of program that you pray for. The most underrated aspect of UTR is the support system of colleagues, peers, and mentors."

Residency Year: Omar spent his residency year teaching high school biology at Hillcrest High School in Queens.

Omar is teaching high school biology at New Visions Charter High School for the Humanities.

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