Inaugural Class of Heinz Fellows Underway

by Center for Urban Education

The Heinz Fellows Program is a joint collaboration between the University of Pittsburgh Center for Urban Education (CUE) and The Heinz Endowments. The program, which kicked off on June 19, 2017, forwards CUE’s commitment to improving the landscape of urban education, increasing the teacher-of-color pipeline, and improving the quality of instruction of educators in the Pittsburgh region.

Under the direction of Kenny Donaldson, CUE’s Associate Director of Strategic Programming and Initiatives, the first cohort of Heinz Fellows comprises 15 nationally-recruited educators who have been trained with a equity-minded, social justice framework. Nine of the fellows are either undergraduate or graduate alumni of the University of Pittsburgh.

Throughout an eight-week summer orientation, the fellows participated in training sessions, professional development, community visits, and reflective practices focused on developing competencies in six areas:

  1. Understanding the Urban Context
  2. Teaching/Tutoring/Pedagogy
  3. Mentoring and Social Support
  4. Participatory Action Research
  5. Arts and Technology
  6. Community, Volunteerism and Non-Profit Organizations

Their training began with the theme of “Identity,” which they connected to the Center for Urban Education’s Summer Educator Forum (CUESEF)—a two-day educator professional development focused on culturally responsive teaching with nationally known scholars in the field.

Fellows have engaged in various activities, including lectures by distinguished faculty, visits from respected community members, and a tour of Pittsburgh’s historic Hill District. Through these experiences, fellows ended the summer prepared to apply what they learned in Pittsburgh area schools.

Since the start of the school year, the fellows have provided tutoring, mentoring, and support for Pittsburgh Public Schools students, teachers, and staff in in neighborhood schools adjacent to the University of Pittsburgh. They also continue to participate in weekly community visits to locations that work with youth, along with ongoing professional development and training at CUE.

The fellows are excited with the work they are doing in the schools and the community. They look forward to having a tremendous impact on the students, teachers, families, and community members with whom they are engaging.

For more information about the Heinz Fellows Program, visit