BRIDGEPORT- “Are you ready to take up the Lord’s call to be a missionary disciple by serving as a Catholic educator? For to live the mission of Catholic education means to give life to our students by opening their minds, hearts and lives to Christ and his Gospel. It means challenging our young people to know and live the Truth. It is to stand with them as they grow in wisdom and grace. If you are ready for take up this mission, then the Aquinas Fellowship Program is waiting for you,” said Bishop Frank Caggiano.
The Diocese of Bridgeport (DOB) Aquinas Fellowship Program (AFP) is designed to form leaders and develop highly motivated and committed educators for the purpose of supporting Pre-K-12 Catholic education in Catholic schools. Professional development, community and spiritual growth are the foundational principles of this program developed to attract talented, faith-filled college graduates from Catholic colleges and universities who wish to renew and transform Catholic school classrooms.
Participants accepted into AFP live communally with other program participants, are given opportunities to develop their individual spirituality and work towards a Master’s degree either in Education, in a specific subject (such as Mathematics or Biology), School Counseling or School Psychology, while teaching full-time in one of the Catholic schools in the Diocese of Bridgeport.
The program seeks to create a holistic formation of both teacher and individual while supporting the mission of enhancing Catholic school education. These educators, who will live in community and study together as part of a university collaboration, will make a significant impact on the lives of the children that they serve.
Participants must commit to a minimum of five years – two years as a fellow as they complete the coursework and three years as a paid employee of the Diocese of Bridgeport once the degree is completed.
Ignited by their faith and wanting to serve, participants get the opportunity to make a deep and profound difference in the lives of children they teach and are supported with educational opportunities, a supportive community and spiritual guidance.
During their two years of service, Aquinas Fellowship Teachers:
- Are placed in affordable housing, arranged by the diocese
- Receive a modest living allowance ($15,000 per year)
- Are placed in a teaching position within the Diocese of Bridgeport Schools
- Receive educational and spiritual support as they balance life, college, and teaching
- Focus on professional development, community and spiritual growth
- Will live in a community and study together as part of a university collaboration and make a significant impact on the lives of the children that they serve
- Gain an extraordinary teaching experience
- Upon completion of the program, receive a cost-free Master’s Degree in one of the degree areas offered through our collaboration with Fairfield University
- Are eligible for loan deferment with full-time student status
The DOB Aquinas Fellowship Program prepares teachers by integrating graduate level coursework with an immersion teaching experience in our Catholic schools in the Diocese of Bridgeport. Aquinas Fellows will:
- Work for two years in elementary or secondary schools in the Diocese of Bridgeport
- Receive extensive coursework training as they work to complete a master’s degree.
- Contribute their gifts and talents to their school communities
The Aquinas Fellowship Program provides subsidized housing for cohorts of 4-7 members that enables a spirit of community around shared experience, mission, and support. Participants are called to grow together, to support one another, and to challenge each other as they develop personally, professionally, and spiritually. Fellows will live in a residence provided by the Diocese of Bridgeport.
Aquinas Fellows are invited to deepen each fellows’ relationship with God and encouraged to integrate spirituality into their community life and schools, and to use spirituality as a support to provide strength and nourishment. A spiritual director will work with the community of Aquinas Fellows throughout the two years to assist in deepening one’s relationship with God by developing an active, vital prayer life through coursework, retreats, Mass, and prayer services.
The Mission of the Office of the Superintendent of Schools, guided by the Holy Spirit, is to care for the education and faith formation of our Catholic School Communities through leadership and service while advancing sustainable, thriving school models centered in the excellence of Christ.
“Our schools, while each individually possessing their own unique environment and charisma, are an educational community of families committed to academic excellence and faith development and guided by the belief that all are created in the image and likeness of God,” says Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Cheeseman.
(For more information on the Aquinas Fellowship Program visit: dioceseofbridgeportcatholicschools.com or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.)