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University Gazette

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

School of Education selected for N.C. Teaching Fellows program

The School of Education was one of five schools selected Wednesday to participate in the North Carolina Teaching Fellows program.

Fouad Abd-El-Khalick

“We are thrilled to have been selected for the Teaching Fellows program,” said Fouad Abd-El-Khalick, dean of the School of Education. “This selection is a result of the strength and effectiveness of our teacher-preparation programs.

“The Teaching Fellows program will extend our ability to prepare highly qualified teachers in areas of high-need, such as in special education and in science and mathematics,” he said.

The Teaching Fellows program offers a forgivable loan up to $8,250 per year to be used by students in teacher-preparation programs in exchange for a commitment to teach in special education or science, technology, engineering or mathematics in North Carolina schools.

Diana Lys, assistant dean of educator preparation and accreditation for the School of Education, led development of the school’s application. Contributing to Carolina’s application were the strengths of two programs: The UNC-BEST program and the ability to obtain dual licensure in special education in the Master of Arts in Teaching program.

UNC-BEST is a collaboration with the College of Arts & Sciences in which science and mathematics majors can also complete coursework for teaching licensure. The M.A.T. program includes the option that allows students to become dually licensed in elementary or secondary education, plus special education.

“The North Carolina Teaching Fellows program will allow UNC-Chapel Hill to leverage the best of the UNC-BEST program with its math and science focus with the M.A.T. program’s opportunity for all teacher candidates to be dually licensed in a content area and special education,” Lys said.

School of Education faculty member Eric Houck was in the first class of Teaching Fellows at Carolina in 1989-1992. He also contributed to the application.

Houck said: “It is critically important for the School of Education to have a role in preparing some of the best and brightest minds the state has for careers as educators. My Teaching Fellows cohort challenged, shaped and guided me in my career as an educator. My relationships with my Teaching Fellows classmates continue to this day and Teaching Fellows alumni are a critical backbone to North Carolina’s educational policy and delivery infrastructure.

“It is fantastic to see the state of North Carolina stepping into its responsibilities to ensure every child has access to a well-prepared and well-trained classroom teacher, which is foundational to their attainment of a sound, basic education,” Houck said.

Martinette Horner, another School of Education faculty member who was a Teaching Fellow as an undergraduate student at Carolina, also helped with the application.

“The Teaching Fellows program signals two things. First, it’s an acknowledgment that teaching is complex and so is the preparation of teachers,” Horner said. “Second, it demonstrates a commitment by our state to the work of making sure our children have high quality, well prepared teachers.”

Teaching Fellows can have their loans forgiven if they teach in North Carolina for two years for each year they received a loan. The loans may be forgiven faster if they teach in low-performing schools. Otherwise, the loans would need to be repaid in ten years.

Applications for the Teaching Fellows program are scheduled to be available in December, with the first recipients to be selected for the 2018-19 school year.

Other schools selected for the program were N.C. State University, the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Elon University and Meredith College.

Details about the North Carolina Teaching Fellows are available at https://ncteachingfellows.com/.