AUSL Master’s Degree graduation valedictory by Sarah Catherine Shiel Reardon on June 9, 2012

Good morning residents, colleagues, family, and friends!

Michael Whitmore said the three Rs of a successful urban teacher are resiliency, responsiveness, and reflectiveness. Residents, now that we have completed our residency, I know that we all have a deeper understanding of those three words than we ever did on that sunny August day at NLU. Our residency and the work we are committing ourselves to do is hard word. It is. Period. It requires us to be resilient. It requires us to be ready and flexible. It requires us to be reflective.

Today is a special day to honor the hard work we have done and the hard work we will do. Every child deserves a quality education to realize their potential and we are the lucky ones that get to be a part of that. Our students will be the future doctors, poets, astronauts, mayors, and teachers of the next generation if we can help them get there.

We have all read articles that show that quality teachers significantly affect student achievement. One article I read this year said that three quality teachers in a row can close the achievement gap for a student.

Now, residents, I am going to give you directions. When I say “Go” at a level 0, you will have 3 seconds to look at the person on your right and left. Then you will track the speaker. “Go”. 3, 2, 1.

Now if I was a really good teacher I would have had you repeat those directions but, hey, I have to have goals for next year!

Residents, you and your two elbow partners can close the achievement gap for our students. If you are dedicated to improving your practice, elevating your instruction’s rigor, working as a teammate, and advocating for systematic changes you and your elbow partners can help close the achievement gap. I’m going to let that sink in.

Now, we all thought that once we made it to today “we’d have made it”, “we’d finally have done it”, “we’d be done” but residents, I hate to do this to you, but I have a new action plan for us all. We all have had different experiences during our residency teaching in different grades, working with different mentors, and participating in different cohorts but we have all been a part of a broader AUSL community that is dedicated to learning, innovating, and collaborating.

I want to challenge us all to continue to keep our fiery desire burning to learn more, try more, and collaborate more.

I am going to give you one more direction residents. When I say “Go” at a level 3 turn to a person next to you and say, “Let’s do this.” Then track the speaker.

“Go”! 4, 3, 2, 1.

AUSL resident class of 2012…… LET’S DO THIS!

Presented by Sarah Catherine Shiel Reardon at the AUSL graduation on June 9, 2012


  • John Ruccolo Posted June 18, 2012 5:16 pm

    Congratulations to Sarah on her graduation and as the valedictorian of her class. Way to go, Sarah! Sorry I was not able to see you this weekend when I was in town. God bless you in your career as you touch the lives of many young people.


  • Kathleen Naughton Posted June 19, 2012 4:28 pm

    Great speech Sarah, we are so proud of you and all your accomplishments, and just to think …You’re only beginning!!! We as parents are so grateful for your committment and skill in teaching this next generation. Like your mentors and teachers before you this noble career makes a difference and we know you and your program residents are ready to make that difference!! GOD BLESS YOU ALL.

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