When Kevin Kumlin returned from deployment to Afghanistan in 2012, he heard about a job opening in special education. He knew what he was getting into.
“It was subbing at my old high school where it all clicked,” he says. “So I tried it again full time at Capitol View, and I fell into it. The more I learn about special education, the more interesting it is.”
Capitol View Center is the home of an alternative learning program where Kumlin works as an education assistant. In 2014, he took the opportunity to apply for a master of education in emotional and behavioral disorders (EBD) through a new two-year residency program initiated by his school district in collaboration with CEHD. Since he also had a second job, the residency model—with coursework offered at Capitol View—made it possible.
Last summer he thought he might not be able to finish the program. He and his wife learned they were expecting a baby in 2016. Then a new scholarship was announced that would cover tuition and other costs for Kumlin and his cohort.
“My wife happened to be with me when we got the news in July,” he says. “She actually cried. I know a lot of us in the program are in the same boat and others were just as relieved as I was.”
“The Bentson Foundation support gave me the freedom to focus on school.”
The Bentson Foundation created a fund to support graduate students gaining licensure in EBD, an area of severe shortage in Minnesota.
“The foundation had been seeking a way to make an impact on the teacher shortage in Minnesota,” says Judi Dutcher, executive director of the Bentson Foundation. “Supporting the M.Ed. residency program in special education aligned with our goals—gaining greater diversity among teachers in our public schools, and supporting nontraditional students who really know what it means to be a special education teacher.”
The Bentson Foundation went further and created a second fund to support participants in the Minneapolis Residency Program. The gift for the two programs is $812,000.
“When we learned about this new program to increase teacher diversity and the number of bilingual teachers, we wanted to support it,” says Dutcher. “These are individuals who have made a decision about the direction of their career and their lives.”
Story by Gayla Marty| Photo by Dawn Villella | Winter 2016