Teacher of the Year

Congratulations Kristin Bengtson Mendoza!

2021 Semi-Finalist
International Academy of Digital Arts & Sciences at Wilbur Cross High School New Haven

Learn More About Kristin

After earning a BA from Bennington College, Kristin worked in a Chuj-speaking Mayan community in Guatemala as a Fulbright Scholar. Upon returning to the US, she taught ESL in Brooklyn as a NYC Teaching Fellow. She earned her MSEd in TESOL from Long Island University Brooklyn and a certificate in Bilingual/ESL Teacher Leadership from Bank Street College. She has taught English learners in grades 4-12 in New Haven. At Wilbur Cross High School, she continues her focus on students with interrupted formal education and newcomers. She partners with CT Students for a Dream, colleagues and students to create safe spaces for undocumented families. Together they organize “Know Your Rights” workshops, fundraise for families in deportation proceedings, and give testimony at the state legislature. In 2019 her students led a successful campaign to bring classmate Mario Aguilar home from immigration detention, gaining national media attention. 

Kristin is a founding member of the Semilla Collective of New Haven. She has presented at numerous conferences, facilitates professional development throughout her district, and is an adjunct instructor at Southern CT State University. She also co-authored a chapter in Multimodal Literacies in Young Emergent Bilinguals: Speaking Back to Print-Centric Practices, forthcoming from Multilingual Matters.

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