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Denton ISD Extends Employment Offers, Signs UNT Residency Teachers

Denton ISD extended employment offers to University of North Texas residency teachers at a special signing ceremony on Friday afternoon. Each of the UNT seniors have already been working in Denton ISD while completing their respective bachelor’s degrees through a unique opportunity, with the goal for each of them to have long careers in Denton ISD.

The program began last fall with observations and various work experiences at each residency teacher’s assigned campus. This residency provided an opportunity for these UNT seniors to earn wages while allowing them to complete their degree and teaching certificates.

The employment offers are contingent upon each residency teacher completing their degree and certification requirements prior to the start of the 2024-2025 school year.

“We are extremely proud of our partnership with UNT and are excited about the innovative opportunities that continue to bring us together to serve our students and families,” said Jason Rainey, Interim Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources. "We have phenomenal mentor teachers who lead, grow and coach our residents, setting them on a trajectory for a successful start to their career in public education. The year-long residency prepares these future teachers for immediate success and builds our Denton ISD pipeline of high-quality educators.”

The UNT residency teachers who signed contracts with Denton ISD included Paige Adams, Fallon Buckner, Isabel Carrillo, Ashlyn Heddin, Aide Jimenez, Christian Johnson, Kendyl Kohnfelder, Veronica McAllister, Celeste Ponce, Allison Texidor, Kylie “Abbey” Williams, Alejandra Zaldivar Salcido.

Kendyl is a graduate of Ryan High School and also participated in the Teach Denton program for two years.

Teach Denton is a grow-your-own program within Denton ISD that provides a career path for students to become Denton ISD teachers. This program started in 2016-2017 and began hiring in 2020-2021. Over the past four years, the district has hired 76 former Denton ISD students who are now teachers in Denton ISD, including 15 in the past year alone.

"I have wanted to be a teacher since elementary school," Kendyl said. "I loved going to school here. Denton ISD is a great district, and the Teach Denton program with Ms. Leah Zavala was incredible. The opportunity with this residency was so special. It makes me tear up just talking about it because this is a full-circle moment."