By Sam Uzwack, Head of School-elect

As we look ahead to the next twenty years, our priority is crystal clear: we must continue to attract and retain the very best faculty and staff possible. During this anniversary year, conversations with students, families, and alumni always come back to the same fundamental truth: what makes Eastside Prep unique is the strength of relationships between students and adults, and the unceasing effort of those adults to improve on their craft. Put another way, the quest for continual improvement is the rocket fuel that propels EPS forward.

Three years ago, we launched the Professional Development Project, which is an ambitious program designed to give teachers the opportunity to reflect upon and improve their craft over the course of their career. Intended to create a ladder of profession for teachers, the program also serves to bring as many faculty into the conversation as possible about their practice. The most senior faculty achieve Mentor Teacher status, making them eligible to mentor resident teachers and experience a mini-sabbatical. We are now ready to invite our first cohort of resident teachers onto campus for the next school year.

The EPS Resident Teacher Program (RTP) exists to identify and develop new independent school teachers. Recent college graduates with degrees in a particular content discipline, along with individuals seeking to make a mid-career change to education are the targets of the program. Not only will the RTP address the strategic challenge of attracting qualified candidates to the  school, it will also provide another avenue to increase representation on the faculty from groups underrepresented in independent schools broadly, and at EPS.

Residents will engage in an experience that equips them with the skills and habits of mind necessary to thrive in the secondary independent school classroom and broader community. Teaching is a complex and multifaceted endeavor. Part science and part artistic expression, teaching involves a blend of technical expertise and individual style. Throughout the program, residents will develop knowledge and skills in:

Creating Classroom Culture
Instructional Methods
Assessment and Grading
Adolescent Development
Social Emotional Learning

These domains are taught in the context of the EPS program, which focuses on integration, experiential learning, and critical thinking.


It is critical that those new to teaching experience a gradual increase in complexity and responsibility, given the sheer number of domains one needs to learn in order to be effective. Too often, new teachers are simply turned loose in their own classroom—the Resident Teacher Program seeks to address this challenge.

Residents will begin the 2023-2024 school year in August. Following a two-day orientation, they will join the faculty and staff as they return for the new academic year. During trimester one, residents will participate in a Seminar on Teaching and will observe a variety of EPS teachers in their classrooms. They will also participate in the full life of the school by sponsoring clubs, chaperoning, coaching, etc. During trimester two, each resident will co-teach two classes with their Mentor Teacher. During trimester three, each resident will have responsibility for teaching a full load of classes independently.

In addition to the Seminar on Teaching, and their unique teaching assignments, residents will participate with the full faculty and staff daily for the entire academic year. The program is an immersive experience, allowing residents to apply what they read to the realities of the classroom on a day-to-day basis.

It is our goal for residents to graduate from the program with:

Mentorship from experienced faculty
Experience running their own classroom
Co-development of lesson plans and assessments
with experienced teachers
Access to a year of faculty professional development
Specific professional development experience geared toward people new to the teaching profession
Colleagues who are able to write recommendations specific to their performance in the classroom as they pursue careers in independent schools

We, of course, hope that residents who successfully complete the program will find a home at EPS. Given the challenge all schools face in attracting and retaining talent, however, we are excited by the prospect that we can help bring new teachers into the profession.

It is important to consider that our residents are not the only beneficiaries of the program. Inviting new people into the community comes with the gifts of fresh perspectives and new ideas. This helps veteran faculty reexamine their own practice, for the refrain “Why do you do it that way?” will be a common utterance. After all, the best way to know how well you know something is the degree to which you can teach the idea effectively.

While our initial residents might focus on our core academic subjects, we are working to bring the Professional Development Project to more and more people within the school. This year our first Learning Support Specialist, Ian Corey-Boulet, is engaged in the program, helping us to tune the framework specifically to our Guided Study Hall class. We also are developing a
Staff PDP model that reflects the unique nature of putting one’s expertise to work in an educational setting. By creating a shared set of values that span the entire school, along with shared language about our practices, the hope is that we can all unite around our professional development efforts, and share in the work of propelling the school forward in pursuit of our vision, to inspire students to create a better world.