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New grant to Okla. university hopes to help fill teacher shortage

Provided by NSU

Northeastern State University has received a $2.45 million grant from the American Rescue Plan Act to help train new teachers.

Dr. Vanessa Anton, dean of NSU's College of Education, said the grant will go toward an existing program at the university that's aimed at training and mentoring people with bachelor's degrees who haven't taken a 'traditional' path toward a teaching career.

"Students that come out of our traditional preparation programs have done internships, they've done coursework, they've done all of those things," Dr. Anton said. "These are folks who didn't do any of that, but they did get a bachelor's degree in something, and now maybe they'd like to change careers and be a teacher."

This particular grant is geared toward the Alternative Certification for Educators (ACE) Institute at NSU, which trains teachers for grades five through 12. The grant focuses on math, science and special education.

Dr. Renée Cambiano is the director of the ACE Institute. She hopes awareness can be raised about alternative ways of becoming an educator.

"Hopefully, through this grant, we can raise awareness about those pathways because the requirement on all these pathways are different depending on where you want to be," she said. "Our intent is to put quality educators in the classroom."

Cambiano also said she hopes this can be a way to lessen the burden of teacher vacancies, a major issue in Oklahoma.

"We are building a model of practice that we can bring into the schools across Oklahoma to help alleviate this teacher shortage," she said.

"I'm a dreamer," she added, "you gotta have big dreams to accomplish these goals."

You can learn more about the ACE Institute on their webpage.

Those interested can also contact the following people:

  • Dr. Vanessa Anton, Dean College of Education, anton@nsuok.edu, 918-444-3701
  • Dr. Kathy Seibold, Director of the Grant, seiboldk@nsuok.edu, 918-444-3777
  • Dr. Renee Cambiano, Director of the Alternative Certification for Educators (ACE) Institute, cambiare@nsuok.edu, 918-444-3741
Ben Abrams is a news reporter and All Things Considered host for KWGS.
Check out all of Ben's links and contact info here.