The teacher shortage in Arizona shrank a little this week.
Twenty-three new certified teachers graduated from the Scottsdale Teacher Education Partnership --- also known as STEP --- at Scottsdale Community College.
The home grown, hometown Scottsdale Community College has been training and providing the tools for teacher accreditation for decades. Their yearlong program is regarded as one of the best in the state, according to a press release.
STEP Program Director Mary Ellertson was among the dignitaries handing out graduation certificates. Her program attracts student teachers Valley-wide because of the reduced cost and expedited curriculum.
In addition to completing their education, many of the teacher candidates are holding down part time or full-time jobs for support until they accept permanent teaching jobs.
The graduates included Christine Antonelli, Tiffany Bailey, Dawndy Bendet, Karen Contreras, Melissa Detorrice-Wynne, and Jacqueline Dorland. Also Christine Fleming, Nicole Freed, Jennifer Frost, Annika Himebaugh, Nicole Jablonsky, and Delores Martin.
Also receiving diplomas were Jason Martin, Adriana Miranda, Cicily Mortensen, Khalin Scott, Briana Reed and Ann Solem. Guadalupe Soto-Rodriquez, Pei-i Lee Whittier, Ronald Woodward, Johnny Zhen and Kimberly Zimmerman also graduated.
Most of the student teachers going through the ceremony have already accepted full time teaching assignments, the press release stated.
Class members Ronald Woodward and Jason Martin spoke on behalf of their classmates thanking SCC for the STEP program and allowing them to fulfill their lifetime goals of going into the teaching profession.
The graduation was a true community celebration attended by hundreds of friends, sponsors, and family members.
SCC President Chris Haines, Division Chair Dr. Dilip Kumar, and Charro representative Gary Shapiro were on hand to offer congratulations.
Ms. Haines spoke of the nobility of the teaching profession and how it impacts so many lives. Dr. Kumar and his colleagues have grown the STEP program from its infancy stages to its current success levels.
Future teachers are encouraged to contact Scottsdale Community College for enrollment opportunities.
As Henry Brooks Adams once said, “A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops.”