From the Congo to Colorado

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Assistant Professor Dr. Jean Kaya is the newest member to join CMC's teacher education program.

Assistant Professor Jean Kaya is the newest member to join Colorado Mountain College’s teacher education program. Originally from the Republic of the Congo, Kaya recently earned his doctorate degree in curriculum and instruction from Southern Illinois University. Photo Ed Kosmicki

By Carrie Click

The newest faculty member to join Colorado Mountain College’s teacher education program comes to his position by way of the Republic of the Congo. After coming to the U.S. as a Fulbright Foreign Student to complete his master’s degree, Dr. Jean Kaya has been in the United States for several years.

He studied and taught at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, where he recently earned his doctorate in curriculum and instruction. Now he’s settling into life in Colorado, and into his work as an assistant professor in CMC’s teacher education program.

He’s based at both CMC Vail Valley at Edwards and CMC Glenwood Springs. This semester, he’s spending more time at the Edwards campus where he’s teaching two classes: Methods of Primary Literacy Instruction and How People Learn. He’s also co-teaching an internship seminar and providing field support to CMC student teachers.

A multilinguist’s education 

Kaya earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in modern foreign languages from Marien Ngouabi University in Brazzaville, Congo. At Southern Illinois University Carbondale, he earned both his doctorate and received a second master’s in teaching English to speakers of other languages.

Kaya said the Republic of the Congo is a country with approximately 67 ethnic languages in addition to two national languages and French, the language of education and administration. He speaks three Congolese languages fluently: Kituba, Lingala and Beembe. He also speaks fluent French and English, as well as conversational Spanish.

Kaya believes his background is well-suited for teaching CMC students to be effective teachers in American schools.

“Teachers in the U.S. are finding themselves teaching in the same classes both English learners and native speakers of English,” Kaya said. “My language and teaching expertise and the diversity in my classes are, I believe, two of the major aspects that contribute to the wealth of future educators’ learning experiences.”