Teacher Residency for Rural Education (TRRE):Faculty and Staff
Jen Baker, Program Coordinator
Jennifer completed her M.Ed. and intital NH teacher certification in a cohort model program in 2009 at Lesley University. She worked in a variety of roles in Seacoast area public schools: Title I tutor, one-on-one special education aide, grade-level education associate and substitute teacher. In her search for full-time employment, Jen came to UNH in 2014 as a program developer for the Professional Development & Training (PD&T) program where she was responsible for planning non-credit professional development seminars and conferences. In 2016 and 2017 the NH Educators' Summer Summit came to the UNH Department of Education, PD&T collaborated on the project and Jen coordinated logistics for the event. Jen joined the UNH Education Department when the TRRE Coordinator position became available in June 2018. She and her family have been in New Hampshire for the last 18 years.
Vince Connelly, Director of Special Education
Vince is the director of Special Education for the TRRE project and an Associate Professor of Special Education in the Department of Education at UNH. He has been working in the field since 1988 as a special educator in public and clinical settings, and as a researcher since 2001 in the areas of teacher preparation, public policy in teacher preparation in special education, and in pedagogical methods in the content areas for students with learning difficulties. As Director of Special Education for TREE, Vincent will teach introductory coursework in special education, coordinate with and assist the residents and mentors with the integration of principles of universal design for learning in their clinical settings, and coordinate pathways for the residents to pursue special education teacher certification.
Emilie Coppinger, Graduate Assistant
Emilie is a doctoral student in the education department, with the specialization Children and Youth in Communities, as well as a graduate assistant for the TRRE program. While completing her M.Ed. in Educational Studies at UNH, she became involved in research within a rural community in Nepal where she explored the perceptions of local grade-school teachers toward the integration of technology in their classrooms. This research opened Emilie's eyes to the incredibly valuable local knowledge that can go unnoticed or unappreciated in rural communities around the world. Emilie recently lead a Kids' Club in a Portsmouth Housing Authority community for a couple years and became interested in exploring the partnerships that exist between schools and community organizations to support the learning and development of students, especially those identified as high-needs. Consequently, Emilie is very excited to help support the TRRE program in its mission to prepare teachers for rural, high-need schools through research, community engagement and recruitment.
Leslie Couse, Program Director/Principal Investigator
Leslie is Principal Investigator of the Teacher Residency for Rural Education Project (TRRE) and Professor of Education at the University of New Hampshire. Her expertise lies in preparing teachers for inclusive early education settings through interdisciplinary collaboration with parents, teachers, and service providers. Through community partnerships she researches inclusive preservice and in-service teacher education, leadership development, and the use of technology in early education. She is the Project Director for two U.S. Department of Education grant funded projects. Growing up on an 8thgeneration family farm in upstate NY. Leslie developed an appreciation of rural living, family connections, and the value of traditions.
Beth Fornauf, Graduate Assistant
Beth is a doctoral student in education and a graduate assistant for the TRRE program. A former elementary school teacher and case manager, Beth is a graduate of the UNH Teacher Education Program. After several years teaching in rural Maine schools, she returned to UNH to pursue her doctoral studies. For the past two years she has worked as an intern supervisor, supporting pre-service teachers pursuing dual certification in elementary and special education. Beth’s research interests are in the areas of disability studies, teacher education, and curriculum theory. She is looking forward to supporting the TRRE program through ongoing research and recruitment. Beth lives in southern Maine with her husband and their three children.
Tom Higginbotham, Director of Science Education
Tom is the Director of Science Education for TRRE, and a postdoctoral research and teaching associate at UNH. A diversity of experiences and settings have marked his career in education. His wife’s medical training has taken them around the country, and they are finally settled in New Hampshire, where they originally met many moons ago. Tom has taught outdoor education, secondary science and math, and served for over a decade as a school administrator in both primary and secondary schools. Along the way, he earned his Ph.D. from Boston College in Curriculum & Instruction, focusing on gender issues in the K-12 science classroom and on educational technology and has worked as a consultant for school leaders, focusing on Common Core Standards (both math and ELA). Most recently, Tom taught science methods, educational technology, and general science content classes at another NH university. Tom joined the TRRE project not only because it offered an ideal blend of research and teaching, but also because the project’s outcomes are so important and resonate so strongly with his beliefs about the importance of recognizing and honoring local knowledge. And he has a strange talent for remembering the scientific names of plants that he learned 25 years ago.
Dan Lord, Director of Community Engagement
Dan is the community engagement director for the TRRE program as well as a PhD student in the UNH Department of Education. He brings a background in community organizing in Downeast Maine, where he lived prior to moving to Conway in 2016. Academically he completed his master's degree in sociology from Lancaster University in the UK, and worked as a teaching and research assistant while taking graduate coursework at the University of Illinois. His area of interests lie at the intersection of environmental education, community-based, and rural education. This summer he co-taught a TRRE course on sociocultural perspectives on teaching and learning.
Bryan Mascio, Postdoctoral Associate
Bryan is a TRRE Postdoctoral Associate whose main responsibilities are: to establish and maintain partnerships with schools and districts in rural regions of NH including the Lakes Region, the North Country, and other high need areas; conduct research on teacher learning, development, and practice; and teach graduate courses to TRRE teaching residents. Bryan recently completed his Educational Doctorate in Human Development and Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE), where he also earned a master’s degree in Mind Brain and Education. During his studies his primary research focused on the social-emotional-cognitive skills of teaching and the development of those complex skills. He continues his work with schools to support the development of those skills and their application to teachers’ and students’ learning and growth. In addition, his other areas of interest and expertise are the methodology of portraiture, development of survey scales, student and teacher social emotional learning, application of complexity thinking to education, and the intersection of teacher professionalism and school improvement. He is excited about “coming home” to UNH where he previously completed programs in Applied Animal Science, Adult and Occupational Education, and Special Education. Prior to making the difficult decision to leave his classroom to pursue his work at HGSE, Bryan was a teacher for 12 years in various NH schools primarily working with students who had been unsuccessful in traditional school settings. Bryan and his wife both grew up in NH, and even lived in UNH married housing for a few years prior to buying Bryan’s childhood home in Kingston almost 20 years ago.
Sharon McCrone, Director of Mathematics Education
Sharon is the director of Mathematics Education for the TRRE project and professor of Mathematics Education with more than 10 years of experience in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics at the UNH. Her main areas of interest in research and teaching are in mathematical reasoning at all grade levels; teaching and learning high school mathematics; and teacher preparation, specifically mathematical knowledge for teaching. As the Director of Mathematics Education for the TRRE Program at UNH, she will act as the (1) Liaison to the Department of Mathematics and Statistics, (2) Support resident recruitment and networking across NH and New England, and (3) Participate in curriculum development, teaching, and oversight of mathematics and mathematics education courses, specifically, developing online and hybrid courses and streamlining current course content.
Kathryn McCurdy, Director of Induction
Kathryn is the Coordinator of Induction on the Teacher Residency for Rural Education project. She also is an Assistant Clinical Professor in the Education Department at UNH where she serves as the Director of Field Experiences for the university’s Manchester campus. Both her practical expertise and research backgrounds are in the field of beginning teacher learning, mentoring, and induction. In her role as Coordinator of Induction, Kathryn is working with the TRRE Management Team and school partners to develop a program that will support TRRE graduates in their first two years of teaching through mentoring, virtual networks, and continued professional development. As a former middle school math teacher, Kathryn will instruct Exploring Mathematics with Young Children for TRRE residents.
Emilie Reagan, Co-Principal Investigator
Emilie collaborates with the TRRE team to: (1) design and implement the TRRE program; (2) recruit and select residents; (3) communicate with partners; and (4) conduct research to inform the program. Emilie also teaches the Introduction to Assessment course to the teaching residents. Emilie is an Associate Professor in the UNH Education Department. Her research focuses on teacher education policy and practice. Prior to moving to New Hampshire, Emilie worked for the Teaching Residents @ Teachers College, Columbia University program in New York City.
Tom Schram, Director of Pedagogy and Clinical Experience
Tom is the Director of Pedagogy and Clinical Experience, he assists in: (1) the selection of residents, (2) guides and supervises clinical experiences, (3) coordinates selection of residency schools, (4) coordinates selection and training of teaching mentors, supervisors, and course instructors, and (4) oversees curriculum design and development. This year he is also something of a “faculty-in-residence” up in the North Country, serving as the on-site supervisor and advisor for this first TRRE cohort. In this role, he will be visiting the residents and mentors in their classrooms on a weekly basis and teaching the yearlong residency seminar. He will be living in Randolph 3-4 days each week to facilitate accessibility and travel to residency partner schools, as well as outreach to other districts as TRRE faculty and staff continue to grow the program.