7/17/2013 8:36:00 AM Local professionals can make a difference through teaching The Arizona Center helps career-changers make the transition into the classroom
As highlighted in Change the Equation's 2012 Arizona Vital Signs report, only 11 percent of Arizona eighth-graders have a math teacher who majored in the subject they teach. Only 31 percent of eighth-graders have a science teacher who majored in the subject they teach.
"With more than 70 percent of Arizona eighth- graders below proficiency in science and math, there is increased pressure for school districts to recruit and retain highly-qualified teachers," said Shawn Arévalo McCollough, a former superintendent, principal, and teacher who now serves as president and CEO of the American Board, parent organization of the Arizona Center for Teacher Preparation.
This summer the Arizona Center, a teacher certification nonprofit, is aiming to alleviate this statewide issue by helping career-changing professionals bring their practical experience and expertise to local classrooms.
Michelle Gilmer is a former engineer who turned to teaching to make a difference in her community.
"Teaching was a lifelong dream," said Gilmer. "I utilize my work experience and bring real-world mathematics applications to the classroom."
"For those who are looking for a career change, the teaching profession is a great option and extremely rewarding," said McCollough. "You're part of building the future."
Accepted by the Arizona State Board of Education in January 2013, the Arizona Center assists career-changers, subject area experts, recent college graduates, and others with a Bachelor's degree to earn full teacher certification.
The AZ TeacherPrep program provides a pathway for professionals in the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields to teach in local classrooms.
The Arizona Center will be hosting informational sessions this July and August. A local representative will provide materials and answer questions about how to become a certified teacher in Arizona.
Interested people can RSVP at http://www.azteacherprep.org/event.