IRT Receives $700,000 From Mellon Foundation

Although sometimes overlooked by Andover’s students, the Academy’s Institute for the Recruitment of Teachers is now receiving national recognition. On September 19, the IRT, a program that aims to inspire minority students to pursue careers in education, received $700,000 from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The grant will be paid to the IRT over a span of three years. This is the IRT’s third grant from the foundation. In total, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has awarded the IRT more than $2 million. The new funds will be used mostly to keep the IRT’s day-to-day operations running smoothly. Former English Department Chair and Dean of Faculty Kelly Wise founded the IRT in 1990. Interim Director of IRT Chera Reid, an alumna of IRT herself, said, “There is no other program like it, or even closely resembling it at all….It’s a great thing that we can help committed kids reach their goals.” Each summer, the IRT welcomes 30 college students to the Andover campus. Here, they pursue rigorous academic studies to prepare them for graduate-level courses. IRT also guides 70 college students through the graduate school application process via satellite. Candidates for IRT must have a minimum GPA of 3.0, and they must be majoring in a subject relevant to the arts or humanities. Of the 900 students who have participated in the program, over 800 have gone on to receive Master’s degrees, while over 100 have earned doctorate degrees. More than 850 IRT alumni have pursued careers in education. Many other IRT alumni besides Ms. Reid have either passed through Phillips Academy or ended up working here. These include other IRT staff members, math teachers, English teachers, teaching fellows, and Addison fellows. Other IRT alums go on to teach at the primary, secondary, and university levels. Chera Reid said, “We look for students who realize they aren’t going to change the whole world, but are going to make a powerful difference somewhere.”