Wake Ed

Wake County program gets first group of future teachers

Twenty-three members of the Wake County school system’s Class of 2015 are slated to return in four years as future teachers.

The soon-to-be high school graduates were accepted into Wake’s new Future Teachers Program, where they agreed to spend at least three years teaching in the district. Doug Thilman, Wake’s assistant superintendent for human resources, told school board members on Tuesday that the program is Wake’s attempt to develop its “internal student talent pool.”

High school seniors who plan to become teachers applied for the program and were selected after an interview process.

The students are from Apex, Broughton, Enloe, Fuquay-Varina, Garner, Green Hope, Heritage, Holly Springs, Middle Creek, Southeast Raleigh and Wake Forest high schools and the East Wake School of the Arts, District staff are going to the senior award ceremonies at those schools to present future teachers certificates.

Thilman estimated the three-year contract and award package will be worth a little over $100,000 per person.

Beginning the summer following their freshmen year of college, the 23 students will receive stipends each summer to attend one week of professional development “to train them in the Wake County way for becoming high quality professional teachers,” Thilman said.

After they complete their college education and get licensed, they’ll be given three-year teaching contracts with Wake.

School board Vice Chairman Tom Benton noted that none of this year’s 26 high school valedictorians listed education or teaching as their goal.

“I’m hoping with this program that it will just be a matter of time before we have a valedictorian back in here that’s saying that their plans are to go to school and return as a teacher in Wake County,” Benton said.

School board Chairwoman Christine Kushner said she hopes a future Wake County Teacher of the Year will come out of this new program.