Help Wanted: Teachers

MCC ready to help with local shortage

A chart of easiest to hardest to fill teaching positions by subject.

Sparky Knowlton, Kingman Daily Miner

A chart of easiest to hardest to fill teaching positions by subject.

KINGMAN – Mohave Community College has a long term plan to help local schools pick up some slack in the teaching department.

In a statement from MCC, the college would work with local school districts to help tackle teacher shortages by creating a process to help identify students who are interested in becoming teachers. They would then work closely with the students throughout high school and college, and finally bring them back to local classrooms as teachers.

The plan was unveiled to several leaders from school districts throughout Mohave County at MCC’s ‘Grow Your Own’ education summit Oct. 12.

Kingman Unified School District Human Resources Director Chris Nutt attended the summit.

“We do see this as a benefit to our teacher shortage concern, but it is a long term benefit. We want to be able to work with those employees that are interested in the teaching field and also those high school students that maybe interested in a teaching career, she said. “ Our goal is to open the communication with these future teachers on the opportunities available within the school district and MCC for a teaching career.”

Kingman Academy of Learning Superintendent Susan Chan said the charter school hasn’t had specific discussions with MCC about the program.

“I do know that we encourage students to attend MCC to get their associate’s degree, then move on to a university for their bachelor’s,” she said.

According to the Learning Policy Institute, an education think tank, the U.S. is facing its first teacher shortage since the 1990’s. The number of students entering teacher preparation programs has dropped from 691,000 to 451,000 in the past 6 years, according to the LPI.

The impact is being felt here at home in Mohave County.

“This is a great idea, for all of us across the county to get together to find answers to a problem we all face,” said Mandy Wexler, director of student achievement at Mohave Valley Elementary School District.

“We’d like to have connections laid out for the students,” said Lake Havasu Unified School District Superintendent Diana Asseier, “So the student says ‘I know I can start at MCC, then transfer to ASU.’”

During the summit it was clear MCC’s resident faculty are eager to help.

“We are passionate about teaching future teachers, we want to help those students who know they want to become teachers and encourage others who are considering it,” Tara Dagres, MCC education faculty member, told the summit attendees.

“By starting with MCC, students can earn their associate degree in education and MCC can help them transfer to a university where they can earn their bachelor’s degree,” said Ana Masterson, MCC dean of student services.

Students would spend two years studying at MCC, then two more years at one of MCC’s 17 partner universities, which include Arizona State, Northern Arizona and Grand Canyon universities and University of Arizona. Through that process of earning an associate degree, then a bachelor’s degree, students and their families will save thousands of dollars, possibly even more.

“There are a lot of funding opportunities available for students who want to become teachers and we can help guide students through that process as well,” said Masterson.

MCC and school leaders throughout Mohave County will continue to move forward together to help Mohave County grow its own future educators.

All who attended the summit agreed, students who love their hometown, want to help future generations and want job security should consider teaching as a career.