About KCTR

The Kansas City Teacher Residency's mission is to recruit, prepare, develop, and support effective teachers in classrooms across Kansas City. Our end goal is to help students achieve strong academic gains by retaining exceptional teachers that reflect the rich diversity of metro KC.

The residency program is a direct response to the challenge of teacher shortages in urban cities like Kansas City. In collaboration with partner schools and districts, KCTR will prepare teachers to make an immediate impact on students.

The Residency Model

Urban teacher residency programs adapt the medical residency model to teacher preparation. Across the country, there are more than 20 urban teacher residencies that blend a year of apprenticeship with graduate coursework and resident-mentor relationships. Distinguished from traditional teacher training programs, urban teacher residencies have dramatically improved the amount of time and quality of teacher candidates' clinical experiences, ensuring that residents are able to effectively serve students on day one.


  • Gains in student achievement
  • Three-year teacher retention rates between 85 percent and 98 percent
  • Principal satisfaction rates above 90 percent
  • Significant increases in the diversity of the teaching pool
  • Sustainability and scale


Charles King, Executive Director
As executive director of KCTR, Charles King is responsible for the development and design of the teacher residency program that will serve public and charter schools in the Kansas City, Missouri, area. Before joining KCTR, King worked for the Knowledge is Power Program (KIPP) in Houston, Texas, serving in a number of roles in KIPP Houston, including principal of KIPP Spirit College Prep most recently. King has more than 13 years of experience in education that began in 2002 as a Teach for America corps member in Houston.

King earned a bachelor of arts in political science from Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia, and a master's in education in educational leadership from Houston Baptist University in Houston, Texas.

King sees the classroom teacher as the key lever for driving student outcomes, success, and opportunities in life. KCTR is a vehicle to drive the development and preparation of the classroom teacher that will lead to their effectiveness in achieving the desired student outcomes for the children of Kansas City.

Tara Tamburello, Director of Teacher Residency
Tara Tamburello is the director of teacher residency for Kansas City Teacher Residency, where she oversees the professional development, certification coursework, master’s degree program, and instruction of residents and mentor teachers.
Prior to joining KCTR, Tara taught in the Kansas City, Kansas, School District for ten years. Later, she joined the founding team of Leading Educators–Kansas City as a leadership coach. In this role, she provided leadership and instructional coaching for teachers in the Kansas City area during their two-year fellowship. Tara also developed and delivered leadership and instructional professional development sessions for teacher leaders regionally and nationally. Tara transitioned to the regional program director–Kansas City for Leading Educators in 2014, where she managed a team of leadership coaches and oversaw the quality of professional development and coaching for teacher leaders in the Kansas City region.
Tara earned a bachelor’s degree in art history from the University of Kansas and a master’s degree in elementary education and teaching from Pittsburg State University. In 2010, she was awarded by the state of Kansas the distinguished award of Uncommon Accomplishment in Closing the Achievement Gap for her seventh-grade math scores.
Meredith Mershon, Director of Admissions and Recruitment
Meredith Mershon is the director of admissions and recruitment for the Kansas City Teacher Residency, where she manages the communications strategy, oversees the selection and onboarding processes of residents, and cultivates strategic partnerships and local networks. Prior to joining KCTR, she was a social work program manager at First Hand Foundation, where she managed the lifecycle of clinical applications for funding for children with health-related needs. During her clinical social work residency, she served as a social worker in Kansas City Public Schools. Her career began as a Teach For America corps member, teaching at an elementary school in St. Louis, Missouri.
Meredith earned a master of social work from the University of Missouri–Kansas City and holds a bachelor’s in human development and family studies from the University of Missouri-Columbia. She is a licensed master social worker in the state of Kansas.

Board of Directors

Katie Boody, co-founder of the Lean Lab, Board President
Denise St. Omer, vice president of the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation
Julie Holland, education advisor to Kansas City Mayor Sly James
Timothy Holman, political aide to Kansas City Councilman Quinton Lucas