Return to Headlines

East Rock Teacher Earns Fellowship for Professional Development


Garrett Griffin Jr., a sixth grade teacher at East Rock School, was awarded a fellowship grant from Fund for Teachers to pursue research on the history of slavery in the United States. Griffin’s proposal was selected from among thousands submitted by teachers nationally. 

Griffin plans to visit the Pan-African Museum in Springfield, MA, the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, DC, and the Whitney Plantation in New Orleans, among other sites.

“During my short teaching career, I have realized that many Black and Brown students lack confidence and esteem when dealing with topics such as slavery and ancestry,” said Griffin. “Often these students experience shame and embarrassment, given the traumas of the trans-Atlantic slave trade. I believe that this trip will help to unpack the complexities and rich accomplishments of the descendants of Africa. With this information and research, I hope to empower my students about our complex past for the ultimate purpose of increasing their academic performance.”

Fund for Teachers invites teachers to apply for a grant for a self-determined professional growth experience and, if accepted, provides the necessary funding for the teacher to engage in a fellowship during the summer months. Fund for Teachers supports hundreds of teachers nationwide each year. Funding for teachers in Connecticut is provided largely by Dalio Philanthropies. 

Superintendent Dr. Iline Tracey and Assistant Superintendent for Instructional Leadership Keisha Hannans were on hand as Griffin learned he had won the fellowship.