Molding Successful Teachers

by Danielle Telson and Riah Glen

Danielle Telson and Rhea Glen are Jumpstart alumni now completing their Master’s Degrees through the Urban Teacher Center and working at the Excel Academy Public Charter School in Washington, D.C.

Jumpstart provides its Corps members with a strong foundation in early childhood education and exposes them to the challenges that our nation’s children face in school. The Urban Teacher Center (UTC) which operates in Baltimore and Washington, D.C., takes what we learned at Jumpstart to the next level, training young adults to become effective teachers in high-need urban schools. As Jumpstart alums and current UTC Residents, we can tell you that both Jumpstart and UTC do amazing work in molding successful teachers and we are proud to be a part of both organizations.

Danielle Telson

I was a junior at George Washington University in Washington D.C. when I first decided to join Jumpstart and it changed my life. It was my first experience working with children in a school and I was instantly hooked. I was a Journalism major, unsure of what that would mean for my future. That year, when I went home for winter break that year, I found myself talking about the children in my Jumpstart classroom non-stop. I remember my mom telling me that she had never seen me happier or more passionate about what I was doing. And she was right. From that point, I decided to commit my life to education.

That’s where UTC came in. My senior year, I started looking for post-graduate opportunities that would guide and prepare me for complex and challenging landscape of urban teaching. Urban Teacher Center did just that. The four year post-graduate program provides people with a dual focused master’s degree in general and special education, comprehensive one-on-one coaching and training, and plenty of chances to grow, learn, and ultimately succeed.

As I begin what is hopefully a long career in education, I can’t help but think about how Jumpstart helped me get to this point. I started my journey at Excel Academy Public Charter School in Washington, D.C., a Jumpstart partner school, and now, I am ready to learn, grow, and foster my love of teaching.

Riah Glen

I joined Jumpstart, during my freshman year at Kentucky State University. I’ve wanted to be a teacher since high school and I thought Jumpstart would be an excellent way to give me experience in the education field before becoming a teacher. Turns out, I was right! I not only was able to bond with my partner child that I mentored but I had the pleasure of working with fellow Corps members to create group lessons and activities to nurture and develop student literacy.

Fast forward six years to 2014, I am both humbled and ecstatic to finally begin my official journey as a lifelong educator with the Urban Teacher Center in Washington, D.C. My experience with Urban Teacher Center has been both rewarding and challenging. I feel blessed to have the opportunity to hone my craft through training and coaching before being fully responsible for the education of 30 students. I also love having the opportunity to learn from my assignments through direct implementation. Finally, and most importantly, Urban Teacher Center has provided me with a professional learning community that feels more like a family. I am proud to say that I am a first year Resident teacher at Excel Academy Public Charter School in Washington, D.C. teaching second grade. I know that this new position will be the start to fulfilling my dreams and I hope I’m empowering students to fulfill their own dreams, too!

Urban Teachers Center is a partner of Jumpstart and values Jumpstart experience by giving Jumpstart alums an expedited selection process. UTC application deadlines for Cohort 2015 are February 2 and March 30. Apply at UTC also has early admissions for juniors to join Cohort 2016. If you have any questions, contact Kerry Swarr, Director of Human Capital at

Together, we can help all children build the key language and literacy skills they need to take on the world.

Donate Now