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Troops to Teachers Virginia Center at William & Mary College gets funding

Virginia’s Superintendent of Public Instruction Jillian Balow announced Jan. 25 that the Virginia Department of Education is allocating $760,000 in federal pandemic relief funds to expand the commonwealth’s efforts to recruit veterans and retired military personnel for second careers as teachers.  The funding from the Elementary and Secondary School Relief Fund — also known as ESSER — will support VDOE’s Troops to Teachers Virginia Center at William & Mary.

“Virginia is home to tens of thousands of military men and women, and in any given year thousands of these highly skilled and educated service members return to civilian life or retire,” Balow said. “With this additional support, the Troops to Teachers Virginia Center can expand its efforts to guide members of the armed forces into rewarding second careers as classroom teachers, especially in critical areas such as mathematics and career and technical education.” 

The Troops to Teachers Virginia Center provides individualized counseling, information about state licensure, and transition planning for veterans considering second careers in the classroom. The center also connects veterans with school division human resource offices.

The center was established by VDOE in April 2017 as a pilot program with support from a one-year $400,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Defense and annual support from the defense department and the U.S. Department of Education. While the program was extended two years ago, the extension did not include additional federal funding.

The ESSER funds allocated to the Troops to Teachers Virginia Center will be used to cover fees, reimburse tuition expenses and provide signing bonuses for military retirees who accept positions with Virginia school divisions.

“More than 180 veterans and retired military personnel are teaching in Virginia classrooms today after beginning second careers with the assistance of the Troops-to-Teachers Virginia Center, and another 30 veterans have earned licenses with the center’s support and are seeking positions,” Interim VTTTC Director Karen Hogue said. “The ESSER funds will allow the center to expand services and incentives for veterans considering second careers as educators.”

“Governor Glenn Youngkin’s executive directive on addressing teacher shortages recognizes that there is no single solution to the staffing challenges many of our schools face,” Balow said. “But stepping up our efforts to enlist veterans into our teaching force is a key part of our overall strategy. I am so grateful for all of the veterans who have accepted this new mission and for the value they are bringing to our communities and classrooms.”

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Va. colleges make pact with Youngkin on veterans benefits

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