Colleen King Mchugh

After completing my master's degree, I worked for Springfield public Schools for 7 years and continued my learning at Springfield College to become a Special Education teacher. I also worked in international student travel and for Elderhostel international, mainly in West Africa.  For the past two years I have been working as a special education teacher in Northampton, MA.


I maintain relationships with some of my CIE cohort, though they are spread across the globe. I met my husband, Sam, as I was finishing my program at CIE, and now have two sons Ezra and Moses. Unlike many CIE graduates, I am right across the river from UMass. A fun fact – my dad once lived in Hills South when it was a dorm and he was an undergraduate!


Before coming to CIE


My first international and teaching experience came about during a study abroad program in Ecuador where I taught ESL. That experience later led me to a position here in Western Mass teaching elementary school Spanish and working as a library media specialist. I strove to integrate global education into the k-6 language program, where many students had never ventured beyond the boundaries of their own county and needed tools to make their learning less abstract.  To refresh my Spanish and satisfy my desire to continue participating in international development, I spent my summers traveling and volunteering in Bolivia, Mexico, Peru and Ecuador. I offered short-term relief for mothers at a pre-school for vulnerable rural children, taught a community English class, gardened with school children and continued to return to my job each September.


In 2005, I left teaching to join the U.S. Peace Corps in The Gambia, West Africa. I worked on a nationwide teacher training initiative for alternative certification of rural untrained teachers.  I wrote curriculum materials and taught at The Gambia College, the primary teacher-training institute in the country. After 3 years I came back to the U.S., only to return to The Gambia to teach at the Banjul American Embassy School where my students came from all over the world and often had little exposure to the local culture and community. Suddenly, the “hidden” curriculum seemed to have shifted from bringing the world into the classroom, towards guiding students toward an acceptance of their own surroundings. [1-21]




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CIE Graduate