The Teacher Academy program aims to provide much-needed teachers in Mississippi

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The program aims to stimulate interest in the field of education. (Picture source: WLOX)

PEARL RIVER COUNTY, MS (WLOX) – Educators in Pearl River County are working to address the current teacher shortage affecting Mississippi.

“Right now our nation, not just Mississippi, but our nation is facing a teacher shortage,” said Stacy Reese, a teacher at Teacher Academy.

The Teacher Academy is a Pearl River County School District program for high school juniors and seniors to learn more about the field of education. Superintendent Alan Lumpkin believes this program will help generate interest in the field.

“There are scholarships available for graduates of the teachers’ academy at our high school, so it kind of sparks their interest in the profession and provides them with a transition into college to get their teaching education and their teaching certificates,” Lumpkin said.

These scholarships can be used at Pearl River Community College, where a new partnership with William Carey University will allow student teachers to complete their entire undergraduate degree at the Poplarville campus. However, there are certain requirements. Participants must agree to work in one of three participating school districts: Pearl River County, Picayune, Poplarville if positions are available for at least three years.

The partnership gives Teacher Academy students something to aim for, and many who take part in the program have decided they would like to continue on to college.

“Being able to help people and give back to my community, and not just have another job, excites me,” said junior Vincent Messina. “I can see the success of the people I’ve taught.”

“Being in this class, they kind of treat you like you’re already a teacher. So anything I’m going to do in the future is like second nature,” senior Meagan Stevens said.

Reese sees interest in the program and hopes to see it continue to grow in the years to come.

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