Today marks a historic day in Wayne County, as the leaders of the county’s three largest educational institutions came together at Wayne Community College to officially launch TEACH Wayne. The innovative and collaborative teacher education preparation pathway between Wayne County Public Schools (WCPS), Wayne Community College (WCC), and the University of Mount Olive (UMO) is a high quality and affordable model that is locally designed to help close the gap in the teacher shortage.
“I am so excited about this opportunity for our students, our schools, and Wayne County” states Dr. Marc Whichard, WCPS Superintendent. “TEACH Wayne is a powerful opportunity that will allow us to grow our own teachers locally. We greatly appreciate the partnership and collaboration between WCPS, WCC, and UMO. The efforts underway will help cultivate a strong and ready teacher workforce, which will positively impact the quality of education Wayne County students receive in the coming years.”
Through TEACH Wayne, WCPS students who have an interest in the teaching profession can take part in the school district’s Teacher Cadet program and the Career and College Promise program at WCC to take courses tuition free while enrolled in high school. Upon graduation from high school, students in the TEACH Wayne pathway will continue their education at WCC. Those who have met all of the eligibility requirements will have the opportunity to take advantage of the Bison Benefit Scholarship which will cover tuition costs for four semesters.
“Our individual efforts to train, equip, and hire educators across Wayne County will no doubt be strengthened by the new TEACH Wayne initiative,” said WCC President Dr. Patty Pfeiffer. “Together, we will shape a future that is filled with promise, innovation, and excellence for those who want to enter the teaching profession.”
Students will complete either their associate of science or an associate of arts in teacher preparation degree. Once students graduate from WCC, their earned associate degree will articulate into UMO where they can seamlessly complete their four-year degree in education and earn a North Carolina teaching license. Through TEACH Wayne, students will only have to pay for two years of college.
“The foundation of any community starts with education whether public or private,” said UMO President Dr. H. Edward Croom. “The stronger our education system is, the better our community will be. This collaborative teacher preparation partnership between our three institutions will recruit, prepare, and support an effective educator workforce in Wayne County. This is a great day and a WIN/WIN for all stakeholders and for our community at large!”
Following the announcement of the new TEACH Wayne teacher preparation pathway, Dr. Pfeiffer, Dr. Whichard, and Dr. Croom participated in a special signing ceremony to symbolically recognize the unique partnership and program between the three educational institutions.