Connecting Student Teachers and Graduate Students: the TLC Fellowship

At Mount Holyoke College, we think about impacting the profession starting within our own walls. It happens within us. And we know collaboration is key to retaining teachers and helping teachers continually grow and improve. 

So, we worked with our partners in the undergraduate licensure program to think about how we can offer more leadership opportunities to our graduate students, while at the same time offering yet another level of support to our practicum students who are student teaching and preparing to enter their first classrooms.

And so the TLC Fellowship was born.

The Teaching, Learning, and Collaborating (TLC) Fellowship will:

  • Increase collaboration between our pre-service teachers and our teachers in our graduate teacher leadership program,
  • Provide one more layer of support to pre-service teachers during their practicum semesters,
  • Give effective, veteran classroom teachers an opportunity to apply their mentoring skills in support of a new teacher,
  • Form professional relationships between new teachers and veteran teachers, and
  • Allow pre-service teachers to engage in professional conversations with effective classroom teachers from around the world.

This program has two parts during its pilot year:

  1. Connect practicum students in our undergrad licensure and Master of Arts in Teaching programs with a virtual mentor during their student teaching semester, and 
  2. Connect teacher leaders to our practicum seminars to facilitate workshops for undergraduate students.


See the TLC Fellowship in action and meet some of our TLC Virtual Fellows:

Teachers collaborating

Graduate student and veteran CT teacher Ann Neary discusses Social Emotional Learning at the high school level with undergraduate practicum students.




Jessica Roberts has been teaching for 16 years. She currently teaches 2nd grade at a teacher powered charter school in Asheville, North Carolina. She and her husband, Marc, are the proud parents of two girls ages 10 and 12. 




Ryan Wallace

Ryan Wallace is in his 15th year as an ELA teacher at Tolman High School in Pawtucket, RI. In addition to this position, he is a district and state facilitator for the American Federation for Teachers (AFT) professional learning program. He and his wife, Erin, live in Swansea, MA with their two boys ages 8 and 4. 




Genessa Zickafoose

Genessa earned a B.A. in Anthropology from Mount Holyoke College and a M.S. in Elementary Education from Central Connecticut State University. She has been an elementary educator in Connecticut since 2003 and has worked as a grade 4 and 5 classroom teacher and instructional coach. Genessa currently serves as a language arts resource teacher supporting teachers in implementing reading and writing workshop. She loves her family, yoga, and traveling. 





Leslie LaRocca has taught history and social studies at an all-boys Jesuit high school in Boston, Massachusetts, for the last twelve years. She lives in Belmont, Massachusetts with her husband and their one-year-old daughter. 




Cecily Merril

Cecily Merrill is a Mount Holyoke College alumna who started teaching Fine Arts and Technology courses at Los Alamos High School in 2012. She currently teaches Digital Art I & II, Black & White Photography, Digital Photography, Video Productions I, II, & III, Ceramics, and Academic Study Skills. Cecily is the head of the Careers and Technology Education Department and an advocate for project-based learning. 

Janelle Dickerson


Janelle Dickerson is a Bronx native who serves as a dance educator in New York City's public school system. She is passionate about educating the whole child through the means of arts education and social emotional learning. Janelle loves her daily work within the classroom but also enjoys her work outside of the classroom as a social emotional learning team leader and fellow. 



Chelsea Berry
Chelsea Berry has been teaching for 5 years. She is currently an elementary math specialist and curriculum coordinator in Longmeadow, MA. 
Chelsea graduated in 2011 from Bridgewater State University with bachelor's degrees in elementary education and fine arts. She went on to gain additional Massachusetts certification in elementary and middle school mathematics.