After beginning the program as high school students in the 2018-2019 school year, these students have now successfully completed their education and are ready to begin their careers as qualified teachers. Several students have already accepted teaching positions in the Sioux Falls School District and elsewhere.

"The Sioux Falls Teacher Pathway is an innovative 'grow your own' program that recruits South Dakotans to the teaching profession," said Amy Schweinle, Ph.D., dean of the USD School of Education. "We are excited to celebrate the success of the first cohort of graduates and look forward to continuing to work with the Sioux Falls School District to address the teacher shortage in our state. With the addition of the elementary education program at USD – Sioux Falls, we hope to see even more students entering the teaching profession through the Sioux Falls Teacher Pathway program."

The success of the program is evident in the first cohort of USD graduates, who will soon be teaching in classrooms across the state. Those graduates include Alisa Larsen, who graduated early from her cohort, and is currently teaching at Discovery Elementary in Sioux Falls. Also teaching in Sioux Falls next year is Emelia Skogstad at Laura Wilder Elementary School, Jeryn Mediger at JFK Elementary, and Emily Peichel at Lincoln High School. Talia DeWitte will teach special education in Harrisburg, South Dakota; Morgan Lorenzen will teach Special Education in Lincoln, Nebraska; and Haley Krier accepted a position with Volunteers of America, Dakotas.

The Sioux Falls Teacher Pathway veteran teachers who mentored and guided these students included Gina Benz from Roosevelt High School, Michele Jensen and Shannon McMackin from Jefferson High School, Alison Terhorst and April Vander-Well from Washington High School, and Sara Klawonn from Lincoln High School.

"The Sioux Falls Teacher Pathway program is an important investment in our students and our community," said James Nold, Ed.D., assistant superintendent of the Sioux Falls School District. "We are thrilled to see the success of the first cohort of graduates and are committed to continuing to support and promote this program."

The Teacher Pathway program was designed to recruit and train candidates for the teaching profession, which has faced a shortage of qualified candidates in recent years. The program was launched in 2018 by the Sioux Falls School District in partnership with the USD School of Education. Teacher Pathways started with a cohort of 108 students, and now over 575 Sioux Falls students have gone through the program.

Teacher Pathways aims to address the teacher shortage by recruiting students from diverse backgrounds who are interested in becoming teachers. Students in the program take courses and participate in field experiences in education throughout high school with the option to earn college credit at USD. They then can transition to the School of Education, where they complete their bachelor's degree in education and become certified teachers.

The Sioux Falls Teacher Pathway program has been recognized as an innovative and successful program for increasing diversity in the teaching profession. The Sioux Falls School District and the USD School of Education are committed to continuing this successful program and providing a pathway to the teaching profession for future generations.

Learn more about the Teacher Pathway program.

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