Alumni Profile: Tim Hoisington MAT ’11

After receiving his Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Studies at Connecticut College, Tim Hoisington graduated with a Master of Arts in Teaching degree in secondary science from Colorado College in 2011.

While in the MAT program, Hoisington taught science and led multiple field trips at Carmel Middle School, an experience he believes most prepared him for his career in education.

Following graduation, Hoisington continued his teaching career while volunteering in the Peace Corps.  Inspired by his eighth grade science teacher, Hoisington traveled to Nicaragua in 2012 to work with the Peace Corps in environmental education.

After improving his Spanish, Hoisington began his work in Diriomo, where he taught students in the third, fifth and sixth grade at two public schools: La Concepción and Rubén Darío de Diriomo.

Hoisington shared his materials and strategies with teachers and students, opening gateways into the realm of natural sciences, teaching students how to construct gardens and create organic fertilizer.

Tim Hoisington in Nicaragua

One of Hoisington’s most memorable experiences teaching in Nicaragua was during a unit on force, where students created their own bridges, and then tested how much force they could withstand.

“Many of the kids had never done a project where they had to create something using information they learned in class. The kids were super into it and I enjoyed seeing them have fun while applying important science concepts learned in class.”

Watch the students testing the strength of their bridges:

For Hoisington, teaching in Nicaragua has illuminated the importance of utilizing resources in education, and how an abundance of resources does not necessarily correlate with better teaching practices.

“I think a lot of times teachers can be distracted from content with all of the resources we have available. I think on the other side of the spectrum teachers that don’t have many resources don’t think they have the ability to implement dynamic classes. The reality is that if you have paper, pencils and tape you can do a whole lot with those resources.”

Aside from leading teacher trainings every month, teaching science classes, and helping community members and other volunteers to build fuel-efficient stoves and ovens, Hoisington also started a soccer league for boys in Nicaragua.

Hoisington with his youth soccer league in Nicaragua

The link between philanthropy and sports development is one that Hoisington has continually explored over the past few years.  Through multiple projects, he has spread values in leadership, health and community to youth through different athletic outlets and camps.

The camps are unique in the way they “bring together youth from diverse regions across Nicaragua to break down barriers and to promote a unified youth that can use their common understanding of the problems they face to instigate change together,” said Hoisington.

Click the link below to learn about a soccer camp Hoisington helped organize to raise HIV awareness:

Moving forward, Hoisington hopes to continue working with sports development and philanthropy. Also, since learning Spanish, he is considering teaching English as a Second Language courses.

Cultural and Linguistic Diversity in the San Luis Valley

Mary Slayden with her class in Center, Colorado

Mary Slayden with her class in Center, Colorado, with Principal Sarah Vance. The group is wearing t-shirts presented to the class as a gift.

Pumpkin day in Center, Colorado

Chelo Barton with students on Pumpkin Day in Center, Colorado

Andy Orozco Rivas and Center student with a prize pumpkin

Andy Orozco Rivas and Center student with a prize pumpkin

Teddy Rose with lunch buddies at Center School District

Teddy Rose with lunch buddies at Center School District

Lykkefry Bonde works with students in the library

Lykkefry Bonde works with students in the library

Jean Sung with Center students at lunch

Ruthie Rabinovitch and Jean Sung with Center students at lunch

Teddy Rose with student during lunch

Teddy Rose with student during lunch

Alumni Update: Buck McKenna ’11

Buck McKenna '07 graduated with a Minor in Education

Buck McKenna ’11 graduated with a Minor in Education

Buck McKenna graduated from Colorado College in 2011 with a major in Religion and a minor in Education. During his time at CC, McKenna played lacrosse and was known for being great with kids. After receiving his diploma, McKenna moved to San Francisco, where he worked in a two-year internship as a teaching assistant at the Town School for Boys.

“My first year in the classroom was extremely busy, but the greatest take away was the opportunity to work with students, teachers, parents and administration,” said McKenna.

Moving up from the second grade, McKenna’s second year of the internship was spent working as a teaching assistant in the fourth grade.

“These two years allowed me to work with experienced teachers and observe what collaboration between teachers and grades looks like,” he said.

Following his internship, McKenna was hired as a full time teacher in the fourth grade where he was asked to take on many roles at the school.

“It may sound corny,” said McKenna, “but I feel like my whole time at CC prepared me for this job… my time at CC allowed me the understanding of looking at the big picture in a student’s life.”

After five years as a teacher in California, a teaching opportunity opened up at the Colorado Academy in Denver. McKenna eagerly jumped at the chance to return to the Centennial State, this time teaching 5th grade.

“I could not be happier. I have had the chance to teach an incredible group of students and work with amazing teachers and parents… Getting to know students in my class has allowed me the opportunity to involve their passions, strengths and to stretch their goals.”

McKenna is looking forward to his second year in Denver at the Colorado Academy, and he is excited to be living back in Colorado close to Colorado College.

Crestone Charter School Seeks Secondary Science/Math Teacher

Crestone Charter School seeks an inspired and highly qualified science/math teacher for our high school/middle school program for the 2015-2016 school year.  The responsibilities of the position are flexible depending on the skill set of the successful applicant .  The small, innovative, and student centered program consists of two teachers in mixed age classrooms.  We have mentorships that engage artists and other members of the community for academic credit.  The program is highly experiential and includes wilderness trips, international travel, and a ski/snowboard program.
Crestone Charter School Class

Photo courtesy Crestone Charter School.


Crestone Charter School has received national recognition as a success in rural charter schools. Our 93 student K-12 program features experiential education, a strong arts program, travel experiences, and a winter ski and snowboard option. We are located in a small and progressive community.  Our new school building is heated and powered by our photovoltaic and solar thermal systems. Salary and benefits consistent with schools in the San Luis Valley. Candidates should be highly qualified and professional outdoor and travel experience is a plus.

Submit cover letter, resume, and a list of references electronically to or call 719-256-4907.

Teaching Positions at Fort Morgan School District

Fort Morgan School District in Fort Morgan, Colorado has openings for the 2015-2016 school year.  Fort Morgan is located on I-76 East of Denver (1hr. 15min. from downtown), 50 minutes straight east of Greeley, or 45 minutes West of Sterling.  We are a rural farming community with approximately 3000 students.
My name is Jason Frasco, Principal at Fort Morgan Middle School.  I am currently looking to fill one Language Arts / Literacy position and a Special Education position for next year.  Our school is comprised of 470 students.  Class sizes are 22-26, and we are organized with two 5 person teams per grade level.  We have achieved the highest rating for the state of Colorado, earning a “Performance” rating.  Fort Morgan Middle School was just re-designated as a National Forum – Colorado Schools To Watch — one of approximately 300 schools across the United States to receive this honor.  Additionally, we are breaking ground on a brand new Middle School to open August 2016.  We have great things going on in our building and our district.
If you have interest in our position, please contact me at the information below.  I would be happy to discuss Fort Morgan, our Middle School, and what we have to offer potential educators.  Also, below is a link to current openings in Fort Morgan, and the recent posting as well.
Jason Frasco, Principal
Fort Morgan Middle School
W – (970) 370-6424
C – (970) 768-9394
The following is a link to all of our openings throughout the district, and I have copied the current openings as well.

Reimagining the MAT Teacher Preparation Curriculum

On the heels of introducing our new education major and education minor programs, the Colorado College Education Department is in the process of redesigning its Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) curriculum in time for the 2015-16 academic year. Over the past few decades teacher preparation curricula have been based on the behaviorist/scholarly/academic model of teacher preparation, which places mastery of content area first and foremost.

By contrast, Colorado College’s restructured MAT curriculum employs a learner-centered model which emphasizes a developmental perspective and the learning of pedagogy in order to be a great teacher of one’s discipline. The new CC MAT model focuses on teacher dispositions as well as identifying personal characteristics and mechanisms that lend themselves beyond mere survival and toward teacher “thrival” in the classroom.

The learner-centered model of teacher preparation is another example of CC’s Education Department being on the cutting edge. Other institutions such as the School of Education at the University of Wisconsin-Madison are looking to our redesign as a model for restructuring teacher preparation, featuring an undergraduate major in education paired with a learner-centered graduate program.

Screening of “Fire in Our Hearts”

“Fire in Our Hearts” features and is directed by a young woman in India. The film is about the barriers preventing young women in India from receiving an education.

The film was created through BYkids, a non-profit organization based in New York City that pairs young people aged 8-21 with renowned filmmakers to create short documentary films that explore globally relevant social justice issues from the perspective of the child. The founder and Executive Director of BYkids is Holly Carter, a CC graduate. Ms. Carter will be present at the March 23 screening for a Q and A session after the film.

Fire in Our Hearts  Monday, March 23 at 7 pm, Cornerstone Screening Room

Fire in Our Hearts Monday, March 23 at 7 pm, Cornerstone Screening Room

“Black Like Me” – CC Students Experience Life on an HBCU Campus

Dr. Manya Whitaker had two goals in mind when she designed her course, “The Tradition of African American Education and the Black Bourgeoisie.” First, demonstrate that the purpose and process of schooling looks different outside of Colorado College. It looks different in different locales and is experienced differently by different people.

Second, include a Black History component to the course. Since there were no Black History courses at Colorado College, Whitaker decided that the course would be more powerful if it took place at a Historically Black College/University (HBCU). (Black History courses at CC will be offered regularly beginning in 2015-16.) While there, her students would visit African American churches to experience them as centers of activity that gave rise to HBCUs and the civil rights movement.

The National Civil Rights Museum. The Exhibit path ends with the Lorraine Motel, both the balcony where Martin Luther King Jr. was shot and the presumed site from which his killer is presumed to have fired shots.

The National Civil Rights Museum. The exhibit path ends at the Lorraine Motel, showing the balcony where Martin Luther King Jr. was standing at the time of his death.


Nashville, Tennessee was an ideal setting for the course because of its unique intersection of race and class. The city is home to Fisk University, an HBCU attended by children of elite or bourgeoisie black families, and instrumental during the Civil Rights era. Working class black families sent their children to Tennessee State University, and Meharry Medical College continues to graduate more than 50% of African American medical doctors in the U.S. Interestingly, the first one to six presidents of all HBCUs were typically wealthy white men associated with the Baptist or Methodist Church; the HBCUs themselves were founded with missionary dollars.

The Lorraine Motel, site of Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination.

The Lorraine Motel, site of Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination.

CC students take line dance class at a Nashville area church. Participant ages ranged from high school to 83 (woman at front in purple shirt).

CC students take a line dancing class at a Nashville area church. Participant ages ranged from high school to 83 (woman at front in purple shirt).

Whitaker’s students spent just over three weeks living in dorm rooms at Fisk University and attending classes with HBCU students at both Fisk and Tennessee State. When they were not attending classes, the CC students visited African American churches, the National Civil Rights Museum, and sampled soul food at four different restaurants.

The CC students experienced a number of takeaways as a result of the course:

They came to understand what it is to live as “othered,” and for their “otherness” to be recognized as the primary characteristic that made them a minority in the HBCU community. For example, a student with blond hair felt it necessary to clear her hair out of the shower drain because everyone would know it was hers. Upon return, many of Whitaker’s students found themselves feeling more compassionate towards their fellow (minority) students at Colorado College.

Institutional Heritage: HBCU students’ strong relationship to their institution. HBCU students’ sense of institutional heritage extended well beyond having knowledge of their university’s history and traditions. They viewed going to college as a privilege. As representatives of the African American community they felt a shared responsibility to do well in school and to give back to their community. The Colorado College students had never experienced people their own age with such a strong sense of collective responsibility, nor had they experienced such a strong fluidity between the community and the universities.

CC Dean of Students Mike Edmonds joins the ED250 class for soul food and fellowship.

Colorado College Dean of Students Mike Edmonds joins the ED250 class for soul food and fellowship.

Soul Food, and More Soul Food: Biscuits and gravy. Sausage, bacon, and barbecued ribs. Fried chicken, mac and cheese, grits, and greens – always cooked with ham. And. No. Gym. Whitaker’s students initially loved soul food. Then they realized how fattening it was. The vegetarians in the group became painfully aware of what it was like to live a place where their cultural norms were not accessible. As the students ate their way around town, they found favorite dishes to sample at each establishment. One student made it his mission to try the barbecue ribs at every restaurant.

Respectability Politics: CC students had difficulty coming to terms with the highly prescribed codes of conduct at HBCUs that were both unspoken and highly publicized. Posters on campus delineated appropriate attire for different audiences and occasions. It was understood that sex before marriage was strongly discouraged, to the extent that those – especially women – who did not follow protocol were greatly disparaged in campus gossip circles. There were rules for everything from how to present oneself with a boyfriend/girlfriend, or the number of visitors per room permitted in the dorms. What seemed like an infringement of student freedoms at Colorado College could also be interpreted as a code of behavior designed to produce personal and professional success in HBCU students who are expected to give back to their community.

When asked whether there were any unexpected results from the course, Dr. Whitaker identified the process of reflecting on her role as a professor. She discovered that having a shared experience and shared cultural reference with HBCU students meant not having to self-monitor the cadence of her speech, vocabulary and even body language as she does in non-HBCU environments. Nowhere was this more evident than in the Fisk cafeteria every day during lunch, when students danced the hour away to a DJ playing trap music, a subset of hip-hop. A pleasantly surprised Whitaker remarked, “It was nice to feel my personal and professional lives overlap in ways I never would have anticipated.”

From the success of this year’s course in Nashville, Dr. Whitaker plans to offer the course on a regular basis every other year.

Student Reflections
The Black Experience: As Told By Nashville,” video by Melissa Seehausen and Erin Luby

Alumni Update: Hannah Widmer ’14

Hannah Widmer found her calling soon after graduation from Colorado College with a minor in Education Studies and a major in English. As an Education Advocate Specialist with The Arc of the Pikes Peak Region, she assists parents, teachers, and administrators designing special education plans (IEPs) for students struggling to succeed in general education classrooms. Hannah says of her new career, “I meet inspirational students and their parents who passionately care for their educational experience. There is an impressive number of teachers, therapist, health care workers and support staff that make up the services for those with I/DD. It has been a pleasure getting to network with people who share the same compassion and vision for acceptance of all people. There are many opportunities in Colorado Spring to get involved in the lives of children or supporting those in need.”

Hannah Widmer '14

Hannah Widmer ’14

In addition to providing IEP design support, Hannah plans events for both school age children and for adults with disabilities. She now teaches a workshop entitled “Facilitating Friendships,” based on her education capstone about supporting student with special needs. Hannah credits her time volunteering in Colorado Springs area schools as an undergraduate, which subsequently allowed her to establish relationships with the same teachers and schools when she became an advocate.