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October 14, 2021

Alumni Spotlight: Redia Bridges ’17, ’19

Redia Bridges

Focused, goal-oriented, highly motivated and strategic self-reflection describe Redia Bridges ’17, ’19 (B.S., Childhood Education & Students with Disabilities and M.Ed., Literacy Education). With those attributes, it’s no coincidence that she also earned an M.S. in Educational Leadership from St. John Fisher College.

Bridges is a fourth-grade teacher at Longridge Elementary School in the Greece Central School District, and her biggest career accomplishment so far is helping write her grade’s Anti-Racist Curriculum Project curriculum. The project’s mission is to empower students, teachers and educational leaders with instructional resources about the history of structural racism and civil rights in Monroe County. Educators help students and teachers in the program co-create, implement and adapt curriculum that allows students to explore and interpret local history through rich primary sources. The goal is for students to become critical consumers of information, share their unique perspectives, work collaboratively with others to make claims that are supported by evidence, and ultimately be informed and engaged citizens.

“Sharing personal stories and experiences highlighting the importance of this work and all the efforts to make it possible was imperative,” she said. “This opportunity has given me hope that the educational system is attempting to change and a reality check that there is still so much work to be done.”

Roberts Wesleyan Teacher Education Department Chair and Associate Professor of Education Kristen Driskill praised Bridges’ efforts, which have also included co-facilitating informational meetings with Monroe County teachers. “This is amazing work, and I’m so proud of Redia,” she said.

For Bridges, Roberts Wesleyan prepared her to be an educator by offering challenging classes and different perspectives, whether from professors or guest speakers. And the connections she made with her cohort have grown into lifelong friendships.

“These connections are very beneficial,” she said, “especially in the first few years of teaching.”

Roberts Wesleyan instructors not only taught her classes, but also enriched the learning through a lens of equity and inclusivity, which Bridges has brought into all aspects of her education.

“I always left class reflecting on the content and wondering what I could do as an educator to make sure my students are seen and represented,” she said.

Bridges is grateful for the encouragement to think outside the box to engage students and make learning fun. Her advice to prospective education students is to “Just do it!”

“Roberts Wesleyan College offers a very real-world look at teaching, from the classes to the internships,” Bridges said. “The variety of professors and perspectives provide a well-rounded educational experience.”

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