Three days after he was honored with other graduates at the VCU and School of Education’s commencement ceremonies, Evan Flynn (M.Ed. ‘18) was honored individually as Resident of the Year at the National Center for Teacher Residencies’ (NCTR) annual symposium in Chicago.
At the symposium, the Richmond Teacher Residency (RTR) alum delivered a speech to a roomful of professionals and peers from over 20 teacher residency programs across the country. It was an honor he didn’t take lightly.
“Not only was I surrounded by 14 incredible residents in my track (special education), but the students in the other two tracks were also very driven, successful and effective residents. Each and every one of them could have achieved this honor,” he said.
Flynn’s commitment to serving the community first came into focus while he was pursuing his bachelor’s degree in psychology at VCU. That’s when he volunteered as a mentor and counselor at a youth camp in Richmond. He enjoyed working with kids so much that he went to work for AmeriCorps, a voluntary civil society program, after earning his undergraduate degree.
While with AmeriCorps, he served as a literacy tutor at Richmond Public Schools’ Ginter Park Elementary through the Literacy Lab, which serves low-income and homeless children from age three through grade three. Flynn says it was a turning point for him.
Richmond Teacher Residency: “It was the full package ... I liked that it was accelerated, and I liked the one-two punch of teaching while doing coursework. I felt that they were doing it right.”
“It really confirmed my belief that I wanted to serve in a school setting,” he said.
After that, he started looking for education opportunities in Richmond, which led him to RTR. He liked what he saw.
“It was the full package, in terms of what I would learn and what I would be compelled to do. I liked that it was accelerated, and I liked the one-two punch of teaching while doing coursework. I felt that they were doing it right,” Flynn said.
Looking back, he says the program was everything he hoped it would be. It also led to a full-time teaching opportunity – back at Ginter Park. “As my 13-month residency at Thomas H. Henderson Middle School was wrapping up, I learned that a third grade teacher position was open at Ginter Park. I had hoped to return there ever since serving there as a literacy tutor,” he said.
Flynn applied and was offered the job. He returned to Ginter Park this fall as a full-time RPS teacher.
“The leadership at Ginter Park is phenomenal. They’re really cultivating progress, and that’s something I want to be a part of,” he said.
“I feel that I’ve come full circle in a way, and I’m so thankful.”
To date, RTR has had a 100 percent placement rate for all graduates in its eight cohorts. Learn more about RTR.