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MONTGOMERY BELL ACADEMY

CONNOR M. KAMM
It is truly a pleasure that I write this letter recommending Connor Kamm. I have known Seor Kamm for five years, and I can confidently
say that he is one of the most intellectually curious, hard working, creative, and honest individuals I have ever had the pleasure of
working with over the course of my fifteen-year career. He came into our Foreign Languages program not having taught any Spanish
beforehand, and five years later is leaving as an admired colleague and one of the best language teachers in the state of Tennessee for
being a visionary leader, innovating language instruction, and adapting curriculum to reach student needs and to teach 21st century
skills.
Connor came into our foreign language program straight out of undergraduate studies without any prior experience teaching.
Recognizing his lack of experience, he took it upon himself to learn as much as he could from his peers. He spent virtually every planning
period during his first year in my classroom to learn how to teach a particular lesson and reviewing his past performances. It was during
these interactions that he and I started to formulate a different type of curriculum for language study, one that would focus on
developing students overall proficiency over simply knowledge about the language. We brainstormed on how to execute this vision,
and he and I both worked daily to come up with new activities and methods of assessment to achieve our goal. What we ended up
creating is an innovative Spanish teaching curriculum that meets the proficiency goals created by the American Council on the Teaching
of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) and the College Board. This curriculum relies heavily on teacher-generated activities using authentic
source materials that are both interesting to students and promote overall communication. Connor has worked tirelessly on building
this curriculum, and under his leadership his students have flourished. His classes are conducted entirely in Spanish, even at the
beginning level, and his energy and creative methods of instruction inspires his students to be engaged and motivated to learn.
Furthermore, Connor tailors his daily lesson plans to his students and their interests, furthering their level of enthusiasm, engagement,
and motivation. This type of work is quite time consuming, and during the past four years Connor has spent almost every planning
period either grading, creating new lessons and activities, or brainstorming and sharing ideas with his colleagues. He is a fundamental
reason why our Spanish program has experienced incredible success over the past four years. Our program has had a 100% passing rate
on the AP exam, with over 97% of students in only their third year of language study earning a 5, almost all of whom had Connor as
their teacher during Spanish I and/or II. In addition, since 2012 Connor had 23 students place in the top 10 in the state of Tennessee on
the National Spanish Exams (NSE) for Spanish I and II. This year, two of his students scored a perfect score on the NSE. Over the past ten
years, only one student in our state scored a perfect score at any level, and this year Connor has two. What makes this an even more
awesome accomplishment is that since Connors goal is to develop overall interpretive and communicative proficiency, he spends
relatively very little time in class going over particular vocabulary and grammar points. The fact that his students perform so well on the
NSE, where half of the test solely tests knowledge of vocabulary and grammar, means that his students have the confidence and
intrinsic motivation to want to expand their knowledge of grammar and vocabulary on their own as a way to better express themselves.
Although Connor has experienced a lot of success in such a short period time and at such a young age, he has remained humble and
modest. He holds his students and others to the highest moral and ethical standards, and will not be afraid to confront an individual if it
is apparent that this person has done something that has compromised integrity. He also takes the time to develop meaningful
relationships with both students and his colleagues. He helps coach both our schools cross country and distance runners on the track
team, and he has spent many hours running with them and conversing with them (both in English and in Spanish) to get to know them
better. The athletes he coaches and many of his students and advisees consider him a friend and have the highest regard for him. They
have also traveled to support Connor when he runs in competitive races. Sr. Kamm also works regularly in service, helping teach English
to our adult immigrant community and working with elementary school age children in the enrichment portion of our schools Hispanic
Achievers program. As he does in the classroom, Connor brings a lot of energy and enthusiasm when working with these individuals, and
when Connor takes a day off, the kids in the enrichment program always ask when he will return. Finally, his success in the classroom
has made him a valuable asset to other teachers. During the past three years he has been recruited to give presentations and workshops
at various conferences, where he always impresses others and is a success.
In concluding, it is amazing to reflect back on how much Connor has accomplished in such a short time. He is a supremely talented
young man who is admired by his colleagues and students alike. Any institution will be very lucky to have him as a part of their program.
I therefore give him my highest recommendation.
Sincerely,
Daniel Paolicchi
Chair, Department of Foreign Languages
Montgomery Bell Academy

4001 HARDING ROAD, NASHVILLE, TN 37205 (615) 298-5514 FAX (615) 297-0271
SCHOOL OF EDUCATION
610 E. UNIVERSITY AVE., ROOM 1228
ANN ARBOR, MI 48109
(248) 685-7593
anncrow@umich.edu

April 4, 2017

To Whom It May Concern:

It is with great pleasure that I write to you in recommendation of Connor Kamm. I have been serving as Connors field instructor
for the Secondary MAC teaching program at the University of Michigan since the fall semester of 2016. I have found Connor to be
an exceptional educator whose classes have exhibited tremendous learning. From the first day that I met him in my class last fall,
Connor has impressed me with his enthusiasm, passion and desire to serve his students. He continues to strive to become an
excellent teacher and he encourages his students to the same level of excellence both inside and outside of the classroom that he
demands of himself. I have left every visit increasingly impressed not only by the quality of education that is occurring in his
classroom but the degree of respectful rapport that he is able to establish with his students.

Connor has so much to offer to the world language classroom. His proficiency in speaking Spanish is beyond remarkable for an
American student of Spanish. He received a score of Advanced High on the OPI (Oral Proficiency Interview), which is the highest
score I have seen in a non-native Spanish speaker. He has lived and studied in Argentina and brings six years of prior teaching
experience from a very fine secondary institution located in Nashville, Tennessee.

An example of Connors dedication to excellence became even more evident to me upon my first classroom observation of his
teaching this semester. I came away from that visit utterly astounded by the near perfection that I had observed in his classroom.
While it is very typical for a field instructor to be marking students at the beginning of the student teaching semester as
Appropriate for Student Teaching or Approximating Ready for Hire, I could only and honestly mark Connor Ready for Hire
in every single category! Without going into great detail here, I will say that he taught with complete confidence and clarity of
purpose. Instead of wasting time organizing the students into research groups, for example, he had them complete a short survey of
their preferences electronically, as homework. When they arrived to class their names and groups were already on a PowerPoint
slide, ready to go. Resources were listed and already organized for them. Thus, students were directed into a cultural exploration of
Buenos Aires according to their interests and as families within their groups. As they researched they were carefully guided into
comprehending language first from listening and reading, then on to producing it through speaking and writing. They submitted
their end of the class summaries, totally in Spanish, via their cell phones. In this Spanish II AC class, there was rarely a word of
English spoken. In Connors class, I began to witness a process of development in the world language learner in which the student
ventures forth, timidly at first, experiments with the language a bit, gains confidence, and talks again. This process was carefully
coaxed and monitored by Connor throughout the class period. It was wonderful to see.

In considering any teacher candidate, it is important to speak to the personal qualities of the individual as well. I have observed in
Connor a tremendous kindness towards his colleagues and classmates, and a willingness to help and encourage in a non-
judgmental way. I also believe him to be totally honorable, honest, and professional. He will serve as a wonderful role model for
your students; he is fit of both mind and body. He is a runner and also rides his bicycle to Pioneer High School every day.

It is without the slightest hesitation that I recommend Connor Kamm to you. He is a dedicated young professional who will bring
excellent practice into the Spanish classroom. He is passionate about his subject, focused, remarkably capable, very
technologically adept and fair. He is very clear about who he is and what he thinks is important. He is likeable and cooperative. He
has great warmth and integrity. He is always open and willing to improve. He will be a tremendous asset to your place of
learning. Please do not hesitate to contact me should you have further questions.

Sincerely,

Ann Crowley
Lecturer/Field Instructor World Languages
SCHOOL OF EDUCATION

Maria J. Coolican, Ph.D.


Educational Studies
610 E. UNIVERSITY AVE., ROOM 1228
ANN ARBOR, MI 48109
734.417.6806
mariajc@umich.edu

3 April 2017
Re: Connor Kamm

To Whom It May Concern:

I am asked quite often to write letters of recommendation for students. These


students are usually either looking for teaching jobs or applying to graduate school,
and I can typically offer praise for the majority of them, and high praise for a few very
special students. In the case of Connor Kamm, however, I can offer not only high
praise, but the very highest. Connor is a bright, passionate, self-directed and
unusually mature individual who will add immeasurably to your school as a teacher
and as a wonderful colleague to other faculty members.

Connor is one of my students in the world languages teacher education program, and
he consistently performs at the very top end of that cohort. Given the depth of his
teaching experiences prior to entering the secondary masters and certification
program here at the University of Michigan, Connor is a teacher with a sense of
maturity and grace that few young teachers have. He consistently creates learning
experiences for his students that are richly informed by best practice, cultural nuance
and many opportunities for genuine student participation. These are things that
many veteran teachers struggle to do well; Connor displays his skills in these areas
with grace, dynamism and passion.

Connor strikes that oftentimes elusive balance between creativity and high
expectations for student achievement. His lessons are highly student centered, and
usually focus on students investigating, researching, comparing, contrasting,
evaluating and synthesizing informationcritical thinking skills that are so crucial for
todays students. Connor never doubts for a moment that students can be successful,
and he provides the support, assistance and structure that they need to achieve that
success.
Upon completion of this program in June, Connor will re-enter the world of classroom
teaching fully versed in its demands, fully cognizant of his abilities, and fully ready
and able to combine those two concepts into rigorous and thoughtful work with and
on behalf of his students. Connors language and cross-cultural skills are superb, and
he consistently brings those skills to his classroom in a way that allows students to
learn and to use language in rich and authentic ways. Connors current and prior
experiences in the classroom, his deep knowledge and first hand experiences of the
Spanish language and cultures of the Spanish-speaking world, and his keen intellect
and willingness to examine all aspects of an issue or problem in his search for
strategies and solutions, render him an ideal candidate for a teaching position in your
school.

One of my informal barometers for teachers is whether I would feel comfortable having
my own children in a given teachers classroom. Not only would I feel comfortable
having my children in Connors classroom, I would fight to make it happen. He is a
rare combination of teacher and scholar, and if we could fill our classrooms with
teachers like Connor, we would be the envy of the world. Connor is, above all else,
world class.

Sincerely,

Maria J. Coolican, Ph.D.


MONTGOMERY BELL ACADEMY
CONNOR M. KAMM

I was excited about hiring Connor Kamm. In an age of specialization, it is rare to find someone like Connor who
manages to excel in a variety of realms with depth, passion, and authenticity. A nationally competitive runner, a
scholar from Williams College, and someone who enjoys a host of ideas from art and religion and travel, Connor
embodies those qualities that the best schools yearn for.

Connor has excelled in his teaching. He exhibits the kind of interest and energy that I see in the best teachers.
He comes to class not only prepared but also excited about working with young people, and he works hard to
balance both traditional and innovative techniques in his teaching. We have four Spanish teachers at our
school, and Connor finds ways to lead and to push them in a variety of ways. When we have held conferences
at our school for teachers from around the country, I have asked Connor to demonstrate his teaching
techniques. I have great confidence in him.

It is Connor's personal traits that mean the most to me. I spent considerable energy trying to ensure that his
girlfriend, who has just finished medical school at Emory, would earn a residency program at Vanderbilt. I
desperately wanted to keep Connor in Nashville and at our school. Unfortunately, she did not receive that
residency. Connor will be moving to Michigan to be with her because they have been apart the past several
years. We will miss him immensely. He is one of the finest young teachers I have known and has quickly worked
his way into becoming a master teacher. I will always be pleased to help Connor. He has been an exceptional
member of our community, and we will long owe him a debt of gratitude for his work in and out of the
classroom.

Sincerely -- Brad Gioia, Headmaster

4001 HARDING ROAD, NASHVILLE, TN 37205 (615) 298-5514 FAX (615) 297-0271