Chatham schools receive teacher recruitment pilot grant

NC Teaching Fellows Program launches initiative to bolster education workforce


PITTSBORO — Chatham County Schools is one of 20 North Carolina public school districts to receive a $50,000 pilot grant in 2024, aimed at enhancing teacher recruitment and retention. This initiative is part of a broader effort by the North Carolina Teaching Fellows Commission to address teaching shortages and build a robust educator pipeline in the state.

Superintendent Dr. Anthony D. Jackson of Chatham County Schools expressed enthusiasm about the grant, seeing it as a testament to the state's dedication to nurturing North Carolina’s teacher pipeline. The funding will support the district's "Teach Chatham" program, a local initiative designed to cultivate future educators from within the community. The grant, which is renewable for three years with approved plans, will bolster various recruitment activities.

Lauren Caviness, a senior at Chatham Central High School, was announced as a new NC Teaching Fellow last month.

Dr. Bennett Jones, Director of the NC Teaching Fellows (NCTF) program, highlighted the collaborative nature of the initiative. “One area of focus in the Teaching Fellows statute is to be proactive, aggressive, and strategic in the recruitment of potential recipients,” Jones said in a press release. By focusing on districts with unique challenges or established teacher training programs, NCTF aims to share best practices and encourage more students to join the educator preparation programs in North Carolina.

In addition to Chatham County, the pilot grants will be distributed to districts across all eight regions of the Department of Public Instruction. These districts were chosen for their expressed interest in grow-your-own teacher programs and facing specific recruitment challenges. The initiative targets regions with high teacher attrition rates and aims to draw candidates from diverse backgrounds, including rural and remote areas.

The NCTF program is a competitive, merit-based forgivable loan system, offering up to $10,000 per year in tuition assistance. It seeks to recruit and prepare students committed to teaching elementary education, special education, science, technology, engineering, or math in North Carolina public schools.

The grant's impact extends beyond financial assistance. It aims to provide professional development support in alignment with the Teaching Fellows program, fostering a new generation of educators equipped to meet the evolving demands of teaching in North Carolina.

With this initiative, Chatham County Schools and its partners, including Central Carolina Community College and the UNC School of Education, hope to effectively address the local teacher shortage and ensure a steady flow of well-prepared educators for the community.