Shoutout of the Week: Dr. Bertrand Tchoumi: Leading the Way in Bilingual Education

In the bustling city of New York, a charter school stands out for its commitment to bilingual education and cultural immersion. Dr. Bertrand Tchoumi, its former principal, was at the helm of this esteemed institution.

Dr. Tchoumi’s journey began years ago when he left Cameroon and arrived in the United States in 2003. As a journalist for the Tommy Broadcasting Corporation in Cameroon, he was awarded a prestigious scholarship to participate in the WordPress Institute fellowship. During his time in the US, he immersed himself in the culture of communication and journalism, visiting schools and universities and interviewing prominent figures. However, due to circumstances back home, he decided to stay in the country and seek employment. During this time, he discovered his passion for teaching and began his career as a French teacher.

After spending 15 years in Baltimore as a dedicated French teacher, assistant principal, and founding principal of the Baltimore International Academy West, Dr. Tchoumi sought new horizons. Drawn to the vibrancy and diversity of New York, he eagerly accepted the opportunity to become the principal of a bilingual charter school in New York. The school, located in the heart of Harlem, serves as a hub for francophone immigrants and bilingual enthusiasts, offering a unique and enriching educational experience.

As with any new endeavor, Dr. Tchoumi faced challenges and uncertainties. However, his resilience and determination allowed him to turn these challenges into opportunities for growth. One of the key challenges he encountered was enrollment. The success of a charter school relies on sufficient student enrollment, as it directly impacts funding and resources. Dr. Tchoumi’s commitment to bringing the school to its full capacity drove his efforts.

Another challenge that emerged was the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on education. With more than 20 months of remote learning, students and teachers had to adapt to new ways of teaching and learning. Dr. Tchoumi recognized the need to address not only the academic gaps but also the social-emotional needs of his students and staff. He worked tirelessly to create a supportive environment that helps students transition back to in-person learning, providing them with the necessary support and resources to thrive.

Despite the obstacles, Dr. Tchoumi remained steadfast in his commitment to providing high-quality bilingual education. His journey from Cameroon to New York is a testament to his resilience, adaptability, and unwavering dedication to his student’s success.

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