IRT Welcomes Catherine Wong as Associate Director and Manager of Programs

Catherine Wong (she/her/hers) has been appointed Associate Director and Manager of Programs (ADMP) Institute for the Recruitment of Teachers,  an outreach program housed at Phillips Andover Academy, focused on diversifying graduate education and K-12 through higher education professions to include teachers, professors and academic leaders.

Ms. Wong is a lifelong educator focusing on teacher training, educational leadership and youth outreach while centering diversity, equity and inclusion. She is unwavering and uncompromising in her support of educators of color and first generation to college. She has long believed that it should be the norm, not the exception, that our students have well trained teachers, specialists, and school leaders, who are reflections of their lived experiences and communities. For Ms. Wong teaching and learning is not a top-down hierarchical process, but one of co-construction and connectedness. Her accomplishments were honored this past year as the City of Boston’s 2021 EXTRAordinary Woman .

At the core of Ms. Wong’s practice is her competence to work with diverse groups in engaging and navigating difficult dialogue for the purpose of change making versus perpetuating the status quo. She creates brave and vital spaces for dialogue and action planning. In this way, students/stakeholders become empowered to pivot from hierarchical decision-making to collaborative action planning. With her guidance, groups develop innovative skills to mobilize informal and formal networks of allied support that allow for surviving and thriving even when faced with the most challenging of circumstances.

“I am excited to join IRT as it is uniquely situated to address the increased divisiveness and racism directed at curriculum and program development that is culturally responsive and socially just. Working alongside the IRT community at this critical juncture would be both an honor and a privilege.”

Ms. Wong brings to IRT an expansive career spanning PreK-12 through higher education. She has been a school counselor, classroom teacher, university clinical faculty, and program administrator. Catherine has cultivated strong ties with diverse school districts across the United States to include Boston Public Schools, and has led global educational programs in North Africa, the Middle East and Northern Ireland. Ms. Wong’s most recent leadership positions include; the inaugural Director of Equity Implementation for Leadership Brainery, a Massachusetts non-profit organization founded by Derrick Young and Jonathan Allen, that guides BIPOC and those from demographics who are systematically excluded from higher education to access and pursue graduate degrees. Leadership Brainery’s intent is to diversify the pipeline and increase the voices most ‘minoritized’ at our leadership and policy tables. She has shifted from her staff role to become the Co-Chair of Leadership Brainery’s Board of Directors. Ms. Wong was also the Director, Urban Outreach Initiatives at Boston College, where she led the Donovan Urban Teaching Scholars Program, a one-year M.Ed., diverse cohort-based, social justice infused teacher preparation program. She also spearheaded College Bound, a pre- collegiate youth centered program for local Boston students, Grades 7-12 that addressed social and environmental injustice through a change agency framework.

It was through her work at Boston College that she initially became involved in IRT’s Consortium of Colleges and Universities in 2007, and was elected Consortium Chair in 2016. Participating in the annual graduate recruitment fair, and being invited to present several times to the current associates and alumni with sessions entitled, Bringing Your Statement of Purpose to Life to Teaching for Social Justice and Equity Across the Curriculum, allowed her to collaborate with IRT staff, faculty and scholars.

“Through these varied opportunities I got to see firsthand the incredible potential of IRT to not only influence cutting edge pipeline practices to diversify our graduate schools and educator workforce, but also to contribute to the ongoing work of inclusive excellence at Phillips Andover Academy.”

Partnering with IRT to actively recruit their scholars into the Donovan Urban Teaching Scholars Program was central to Ms. Wong’s efforts to build a strong and vibrant cohort of highly knowledgeable, diverse and skilled teacher candidates as well as create a sustainable and courageous coalition of diversity, equity and inclusion advocates.

(L-R) LaShawnda Brooks, Catherine Wong, and Renata Love Jones, IRT ’13

“I could not be prouder of the numerous IRT/Donovan scholar alumni who continue to thrive as urban educators/leaders, and who year after year give back and mentor future generations of IRT’ers.”

In addition, as a proud graduate of Punahou School with a strong family legacy, and an organizational consultant to independent schools with the most recent being The Branson School in Marin, California, Ms. Wong has a unique vantage point from which to bridge professional development, participatory action research and equitable evaluation frameworks in response to historical context and the current times. Creating innovative opportunities to bring diverse voices to the forefront will further enrich the academics and increase engagement with the Phillips Andover community and its affiliated partners.

Ms. Wong will succeed Dr. Kate Slater, who went on to become the Assistant Dean of Graduate Student Affairs at Brandeis University, and has since been recently named the National Director of College Success at BUILD.org.

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