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Walters State, WGU Create New Pathway for Teachers
February 15, 2021

Walters State Community College and WGU Tennessee today announced the “Grow Your Own Teacher” program: a new teacher preparation program partnership to increase the number of potential candidates for teacher vacancies and to support students who wish attend school and build their careers in their local communities. The program allows students living within the Walters State 10-county service area an opportunity to complete their education in their home counties through a mix of traditional and online learning opportunities.
State and national data indicate there will be a significant shortage of public-school teacher applicants in the near future. Public schools must have the ability to recruit, hire, and retain quality educators in order to improve student achievement and help students reach their potential. Under this new program, students who earn an Associate of Science in teaching degree from Walters State are guaranteed admission to WGU Tennessee’s Teachers College. They will also receive a 5% tuition discount at WGU Tennessee, making an already-affordable degree program at WGU Tennessee even more cost-effective.
“We are so delighted to partner with Walters State in this important venture, making education more accessible and affordable for prospective students, and preparing a new generation of teachers in Tennessee” said Kim Estep, WGU’s southeast regional vice president. “It’s a natural fit given both of our commitment to quality, innovative education.”
WGU Tennessee is 100% online, so students who enroll from WSCC will be able to complete their bachelor’s degree at their own pace and earn their certification to become a teacher in the state of Tennessee. Additionally, during this time period and under the Grow Your Own Teacher program, teacher candidates will fulfill their Demonstration Teaching requirement in schools in their home counties, allowing students to begin building their teaching careers in their hometown schools.
“Walters State and WGU share a mutual goal of preparing more individuals to become teachers, and this partnership will help us realize this important goal,” said Dr. Tony Miksa, president of Walters State. “Also, this partnership with WGU will provide a path for Walters State students to complete their four-year teacher education program in their home communities.”

Once transfer students complete their WGU Tennessee program (including Demonstration Teaching and passing the edTPA), they can apply directly to the Tennessee State Board of Education for licensure.
For more information on Walters State, visit www.ws.edu. For information on WGU, visit www.wgu.edu.

CUTLINE: Dr. Tony Miksa, president of Walters State, prepares to sign an agreement with WGU Tennessee that will enable education majors to transfer to WGU and complete teacher demonstration in their home counties. A virtual signing with Dr. Kim Estep of WGU Tennessee last week.