Kent Welcomes UPenn Fellows


Emily Yuan

Penn Fellow Mr. McCarthy in the classroom

Emily Yuan, Co-Editor-in-Chief

A member of UPenn Graduate School of Education’s Independent School Teaching Residency Partnership, Kent proudly invites two new UPenn Teaching Fellows, Mr. McCarthy and Ms. Higgins, to serve as teachers, coaches, and dorm parents this fall. 

The UPenn Graduate School of Education’s Independent School Teaching Residency Partnership is a support system for new teachers to gain hands-on experience teaching while they pursue a Master of Science in Education degree from University of Pennsylvania. 

Many years ago, Mr. Hirschfeld, Kent’s Head of School, had the idea to create a national training program for boarding school teachers. The program was an immediate success, as many boarding schools were eager to participate to bring talented people to the faculty and contribute to the broader field of education, including Hotchkiss, Deerfield, Milton, Lawrenceville, Loomis Chaffee, St. Pauls, and more. 

After returning to Kent School, Mr. Hirschfeld engaged in Kent’s application process of becoming a member of the program, adding new voices to the conversations of teaching and learning. Mr. Hirschfeld expects a positive impact in not only academics but also in the community, for students to look up to the fellows as role models. “This is potentially transformational for Kent,” Mr. Hirschfeld anticipates, “I hope Kent becomes the best version of itself by learning from one another.”

Having taught Latin and Greek at Kent since 1990 and served as Dean of Faculty, Mrs. Russell of the Classics Department is now the Director of Fellowships. She explains that the fellows share offices with their mentors, Mr. Hinman and Mr. Foote, who’ve taught English at Kent for many years. The mentors will go through the teaching curriculum with the fellows and give them the tools they need to succeed as young teachers in their weekly meetings. The fellows will also sit in on the mentors’ classes and other classes in the department. “I love working with the fellows and helping them develop skills as teachers,” Mrs. Russell shares. 

An English and Economics major at Amherst College, Mr. McCarthy also played on the men’s basketball team and captained in his senior year. He also  participated in A Better Chance Tutoring, in which he tutored high school students of color to provide them with better academic resources. Growing up in a family of teachers, Mr. McCarthy has always wanted to be a teacher. When considering which schools to apply, he picked Kent particularly because he liked the boarding school aspect, to be immersed in the community at all times. He now teaches two sections of English 3 while pursuing his Master of Science in Education degree from University of Pennsylvania. “I love it when students come to me with questions after class,” Mr. McCarthy notes. After the academic day, Mr. McCarthy coaches football and basketball. He also enjoys being a dorm parent and connecting with kids from a variety of backgrounds. 

A prep school graduate herself, Ms. Higgins went to Williams College, double majoring in English and Classics and was the coxswain and captain of the men’s rowing team before enrolling in the UPenn program and coming to Kent. Shaped by her own boarding school experience, Ms. Higgins shares she wants to teach at a boarding school because hopes to foster relationships between students and teachers as well as focus on academia. Currently, Ms. Higgins also teaches two sections of English 3 and will coach ice hockey in the fall and rowing in the spring. In the evening, she cherishes interactions with students in the dorm, enjoying residential life and feeling like she’s still a part of it. Thinking back on why she chose Kent after her first visit, Ms. Higgins revealed, “I couldn’t imagine never seeing those people again.”