UMSL scholar in residence promotes need for strong educators in all communities

by | Feb 4, 2020

Tom Hoerr highlighted UMSL's student-teaching program, which partners with local communities and promotes diversity, equity and excellence.
Tom Hoerr

Tom Hoerr, scholar in residence in the College of Education, touted UMSL’s efforts to reach diverse communities in a recent St. Louis Post-Dispatch guest column. (photo by August Jennewein)

Tom Hoerr, scholar in residence at the University of Missouri–St. Louis College of Education, highlighted the need for educators to reach all communities of the region in a recent guest column published by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

The op-ed was, in part, a response to Joe Regenbogen’s guest column, which noted that his student teachers at Truman State University were performing internships in suburban, largely white communities. Regenbogen suggested these students would not be likely to teach in St. Louis city or north St. Louis County.

Hoerr’s op-ed notes that student-teaching programs can, in fact, be designed to “prepare students to teach in challenging situations and to capitalize on community resources.” That is the very goal of UMSL’s program, which reflects the College of Education’s mission to partner with communities and promote diversity, equity and excellence.

Currently, half of UMSL student teachers are working in districts where at least 20 percent of students are receiving free or reduced-price lunch – a standard metric for identifying low-income students. Additionally, about a third of UMSL student teachers are working in districts that enroll a majority of students of color.

In this way, UMSL provides strong educators to the students who need them. Aside from supporting the College of Education’s mission, it is also in line with Hoerr’s philosophy that it’s an education leader’s responsibility to create a school culture in which everyone grows.

Hoerr formerly led the New City School in St. Louis for 34 years and also served as principal of Pershing Elementary School in University School, Missouri. He has written five books on education theory and leadership. At UMSL, he is co-teaching a new graduate-level course with Mindy Bier, co-director of the Center for Character and Citizenship, which focuses on servant leadership.

Read Hoerr’s full guest column here.

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