February 7, 2013 | 11:20 a.m.
By Sue Yonker, Marketing Specialist
Doctor of Education student Richie Kucinski ’03 has been nominated for the position of senior chair-elect of the Minnesota Advocates for Immersion Network (MAIN), an advocacy group that coordinates the efforts of the state’s language immersion schools. Minnesota is a leader in immersion education, with 64 programs taught in seven languages serving 13,000 students.
Kucinski serves as Spanish immersion program coordinator in Spring Lake Park District 16. He also supervises Spanish student teachers for Bethel’s College of Arts & Sciences and Graduate School, and is creating a course on immersion education for Bethel. He has served on MAIN for two years. “In my new role, I hope to continue to lead our board’s efforts to help create a higher profile of immersion education at the state level,” he says. “Basically, we want members of the state legislature to brag about what great things are already happening here in Minnesota with immersion.”
Kucinski says that MAIN’s agenda includes mobilizing parent groups and school administrators that have immersion programs in their districts, inviting legislators into immersion schools to learn about their academic successes, and connecting with businesses that may need bilingual employees. He believes that immersion education prepares students for the 21st century workforce. “Immersion students also test well and tend to succeed academically, helping to close the achievement gap and foster multicultural appreciation,” he says.
Hailing from a family of educators, Kucinski is preparing for his new role through Bethel’s Ed.D. program. The program has allowed him to “network with other aspiring educational administrators and further develop my leadership strengths as I think about the type of legacy I want to leave.”
Kucinski assumes his new position on July 1 and will serve for two years.