Five questions for Mayme Hostetter

Mayme Hostetter is the dean of the Relay Graduate School of Education. Relay is a national, accredited nonprofit institution of higher education serving 1,400 graduate students across eight campuses in Chicago, Delaware, Houston, Memphis, New Orleans, New York City, Newark (New Jersey), and Philadelphia/Camden. Relay has its roots in a partnership formed in 2007 between three charter school networks and New York’s Hunter College to create Teacher U. In 2011, Teacher U was renamed Relay Graduate School of Education, earned its independence and was granted a charter by the New York State Board of Regents. Today, Relay’s programs have expanded to include master’s degrees for teachers and teaching residents, fellowships for experienced principals, and a partnership with Coursera.

What was your first role working in education?
I was a camp counselor in rural Wisconsin during my high school and college summers. After one has convinced children that “fun activity” = “two mile run” down Wisconsin’s country roads on a 90-degree day, convincing them to read, understand, and love literature seems like a breeze. After graduating from college, I taught high school English at Deerfield Academy in western Massachusetts and then middle school English at KIPP Academy in the South Bronx.

What is one pivotal moment in your career in educator preparation that left a positive impact on you or others?
Having seen the steep learning curves associated with deliberate practice of particular teaching skills for our residents and least experienced graduate students, I’m sold on the power of rehearsing teaching in the presence of experts.

Why did you decide to join Deans for Impact?
We need better shared measures of the efficacy of teacher preparation programs, so that we can learn from one another and improve at far faster rates.

What most excites you about the opportunity to transform the field of educator preparation in the years ahead?
I now have several of my former eighth grade students as master’s students at Relay. I’m excited for 10 years from now, when they become our newest professors, and Deans for Impact and others have made it clear what great teacher preparation looks like, how you measure it, and the positive outcomes it’s associated with for kids everywhere.

What is one surprising thing that everyone should know about the program you lead?
We have an open-door policy and provide regular teaching feedback for our faculty. All of our faculty members welcome observers—guests, Relay colleagues, and Relay leaders alike. And all of our faculty members participate in informal and formal observations of their teaching (with rubric-based feedback) at least six times per year. Finally, all faculty members bring teaching footage from their graduate classrooms twice a month to our faculty meetings for peer review and feedback. It’s a rare night when we teach at Relay without a camera rolling and/or at least one other faculty member in the room learning and/or taking observation notes.

Editor’s Note: This post is part of an ongoing series featuring Q&As with all the member deans of Deans for Impact.

Mayme Hostetter

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