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Teacher Shortages: Paving the Road to the Teaching Profession through Registered Teacher Apprenticeship Programs

Many school systems face significant challenges in attracting and retaining teachers and preexisting teacher shortages in critical areas have only been further exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. These shortages have a direct impact on educational opportunity for students, and shortages disproportionately impact students of color, students from low-income backgrounds, students with disabilities, and students from rural communities. A Registered Teacher Apprenticeship Program (RTAP) is an effective, high-quality “earn and learn” model that provides structured, paid on-the-job learning experiences combined with job-related technical instruction with a mentor that leads to a nationally recognized credential. Since the state of Tennessee announced its first in the nation Department of Labor approved Registered Teacher Apprenticeship Program in January of 2022, 28 states and Washington, DC now have approved registered teacher apprenticeships. Join us to learn more about how the U.S. Departments of Education and Labor are joining forces to support Registered Teacher Apprenticeship Programs as a proven strategy for to attracting, preparing, supporting, and retaining diverse, well-prepared teachers. You will also hear from leaders and participants in the Wyoming Registered Teacher Apprenticeship Program about how their program is helping them to address teacher shortages.

This talk was presented at:
2024 National ESEA Conference
February 2024 in Portland, OR
Swati Adarkar

Swati Adarkar most recently served as the National Policy Director for Start Early. Prior to this, Swati was the Co-Founder and President & CEO of the Children’s Institute in Oregon for 15 years, an early childhood policy and advocacy organization. Swati served on statewide advisory committees on early childhood for three Oregon governors. She provided the vision and leadership to launch and sustain the Early Works initiative which aligns birth to five services and supports with elementary school. For more than thirty years she has been a strong advocate for meeting the comprehensive needs of low-income children and families in Oregon and California and has a passion for ensuring the health and early school success of young children. Swati has served on the Advisory Boards of Attendance Works and the National P-3 Center. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies from UCLA and a Master’s in Public Administration from Harvard Kennedy School.

Danielle Smith

Danielle Smith serves as Director for the Office of Program and Grantee Support Services in the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education (OESE) at the U.S. Department of Education. Ms. Smith oversees technical assistance programs serving all States and U.S. territories including the Comprehensive Centers Program, the Equity Assistance Centers, and other national technical assistance centers. Ms. Smith leads planning, implementing, and evaluating technical assistance activities and coordinates OESE’s support to grantees. Ms. Smith previously led technical assistance initiatives in the Office of State Support for Elementary and Secondary Education Act programs including Title I, Title II Part A, Title III, ESEA flexibility, School Improvements Grants, Race to the Top, and Equitable Access including in the State Support Network, the Equitable Access Support Network and the Reform Support Network.

Carol Keirstead, EdD

Dr. Carol Keirstead has over 30 years of experience in leading and managing educational enterprises. Carol currently leads the National Comprehensive Center’s portfolio of work on Diversifying the Educator Workforce and serves as co-lead for the Center’s Driving Equity Through School Improvement Community of Practice. She also serves as project lead on the Region 7 Comprehensive Center’s intensive technical assistance project using implementation science to build capacity of the Mississippi Department of Education to improve the design and implementation of its Professional Growth System. From 2005 through 2019, Carol led USED funded technical assistance centers serving states in the Northeast, where she was responsible for the overall design and operation of the center and led work supporting states’ school improvement, equity, and educator effectiveness policies and programs. Other RMC work Carol has led supported includes several projects conducting site visits for the purpose of collecting and analyzing data on district and school effectiveness. From 2010-2014, Carol served as a Trustee of the Lowell Community Charter Public School, helping to lead a rapid school turnaround that resulted in the school achieving and sustaining Level 1 status and outperforming the district and state in serving high needs students. Carol holds a doctoral degree in Leadership in Schooling.

Brooks Woody

Brooks Woody began his educational career as a teenager working across his home state of Wyoming hosting various FFA workshops promoting leadership success. He began work as a Paraprofessional in 2020 at an Elementary School, In early 2023 he began work in the Education Apprenticeship program where he studies to become a Math/STEM instructor for High and Junior High School students.

Dr. Laurel Ballard

Dr. Laurel Ballard is the Innovations Officer at the Wyoming Department of Education, where she collaborates with diverse partners to enhance K-12 education. She specializes in teacher and leader quality and leads statewide initiatives, contributing to evidence-based education reform. Dr. Ballard leads teacher quality programs, including the Wyoming Teacher Apprenticeship and competency-based professional learning. Prior to assuming her role as Innovation Officer, Laurel served for eight years as the State Director of Digital Learning and Innovation. Additional roles included Chief Information Officer, Supervisor of Accountability, and District and School Improvement Technical Assistance Consultant. Dr. Ballard, an honors graduate in Economics, holds a Ph.D. from the University of Wyoming, where she earned recognition for her teaching contributions.

Bruce Thoren

Named Wyoming's 2024 Superintendent of the Year by the Wyoming School Administrators Association, Bruce Thoren has served as Superintendent of Fremont County’s District #24 in Shoshoni, Wyoming since 2014. Thoren's K12 career began in 1991 as a CTE teacher but he soon moved to the Wyoming Department of Education, where he managed the digital network that serves and connects the state's schools. After spending some time working in the private sector, he returned to K12 as Fremont County School District #24's serving as a secondary principal and technology director for 13 years. Bruce is a proud father of four grown children.