North Carolina’s long-established Troops to Teachers program has secured a grant of more than $800,000 to continue its outreach efforts to assist service members in becoming teachers in the public schools.
The five-year grant from the U.S. Department of Defense’s Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support (DANTES) will provide continued support to a program that has placed nearly 1,200 teachers in classrooms across the state since it was launched in 1994. Federal funding for state-level Troops to Teachers programs was shifted to a grant-based system in 2017. Previously, funding was provided under agreements with participating state agencies to recruit and counsel veterans interested in teaching careers.
State Superintendent Mark Johnson said continued support for the program is a win-win for service members and the state’s public schools.
“We value the vital contributions made by military service members and their families who are stationed in North Carolina and are thrilled to be able to continue to host the Troops to Teachers program in our state,” Johnson said.
“North Carolina is the third largest military state by personnel in the nation. Our state is privileged to be able to recruit candidates from our armed services, which instill traits that are also valuable in teaching – leadership, teamwork, mentorship and service to others.”
The Troops to Teachers services include counseling on pathways to teaching and referrals to teacher education programs. Service members can also access job-search assistance and help preparing résumés and cover letters for employment as teachers. Additionally, the program can offer bonus pay up to $10,000 for service members who commit to work in high-need schools for a designated period of time.
Doug Taggart, North Carolina’s Troops to Teachers coordinator, said the program has helped staff schools across the state with well-qualified teachers, often in specialties such as math, science and special education that face persistent shortages.
“The military is a tremendous resource of what our schools need more of – a diverse group of role models with leadership and training experience,” Taggart said. “The state doesn’t have enough men in teaching nor is our state’s teaching corps as diverse as our state population.
“Our mission is to find capable service members transitioning to civilian life who have a desire to help our children in North Carolina learn, develop and grow across the full spectrum of academic and career technical education areas. Our nation’s service members’ leadership ability, adaptable demeanors, and public service orientation are a good fit in the classroom.”