Caitlin Burkholder-Travis is a Program Manager at Deans for Impact. Caitlin works closely with educator-preparation programs, supporting clinical educators to learn and enact evidence-based early literacy instruction with aspiring teachers. Before joining DFI, she worked as an education consultant and an instructional coach. In addition, Caitlin helps lead the Thushanang Children's Foundation, an organization that provides meals to the children of Matshwi, South Africa. Caitlin is located in Nashville, Tennessee.
Why did you start working in education?
I decided I wanted to be a teacher when I was 5 years old. My sister was born that year, and I constantly set her up in front of my chalk board and forced her to play school with me. She still complains about how much I tortured her. As I got older and started working in schools, I fell further in love with instruction: pedagogy, metacognitive processes, and learner engagement. Working in these areas has kept me excited to work in education for nearly two decades.
What compels you about DFI's mission of ensuring that every child has a well-prepared teacher?
I want children to leave school having agency: choices for their future, an understanding of what interests and drives them, an understanding of how they learn, the ability to advocate for themselves, and self awareness of themselves as an asset to the world. For this to be true, children need well-prepared teachers who can give them strong instructional support and recognize their brilliance.
Describe a teacher or student who made a lasting impact in your life.
My fifth grade teacher had a profound impact on my life. She was my teacher in 1994 as apartheid was ending in South Africa. She incorporated current events into our lessons, and it was through her that I first gained a broader understanding of the world, the inequities in it, and the impact people can have when they push back against injustices.
What do you enjoy doing outside of work?
I love gardening, baking, hiking, reading, and leading my daughter's Girl Scout troop!