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Fulbright scholar brings global perspective to CMC Vail Valley for educating teachers

Dr. Jean Kaya’s journey runs from the Congo to Colorado

Assistant Professor Jean Kaya is the newest member of Colorado Mountain College's teacher education faculty. Originally from the Republic of the Congo, Kaya earned his doctorate degree in curriculum and instruction from Southern Illinois University.
Ed Kosmicki | Colorado Mountain College photo

Dr. Jean Kaya took a circuitous route to Colorado Mountain College.

Hailing from the Republic of the Congo, Kaya matriculated to the United States as a Fulbright scholar and has continued his education journey in his adopted country. That journey has brought him to Colorado as the newest faculty member in CMC’s teacher education program, one of the college’s growing number of four-year programs.

Multinational multilinguist

Among his many skills, Kaya can make himself understood almost anywhere in the western hemisphere. The Republic of the Congo is home to 67 ethnic languages and French, the national language. Kaya speaks three Congolese languages fluently: Kituba, Lingala and Beembe, and is fluent in French and English, as well as conversational Spanish.

He said his background will help equip CMC students to be effective teachers in modern American schools.

“Teachers in the U.S. are finding themselves teaching both English learners and native speakers of English in the same classes,” Kaya said in a press release. “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.”

Fulbright foreign student

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, Illinois, he earned both his doctorate curriculum and instruction and received a second master’s degree in teaching English to speakers of other languages.

CMC brought him on board as an assistant professor in its teacher education program. He is teaching at both CMC Vail Valley in Edwards and CMC Glenwood Springs. At the Edwards campus, he’ll be teaching “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.


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