Tennessee Leads the Way with New Statewide Teacher Apprenticeship Models

Monday, November 07, 2022 | 03:20pm


Additional Grow Your Own Programs Offer New Pathways for Educator Pipeline 

Nashville, TN—Today, the Tennessee Department of Education announced continued momentum and recognition for innovative educator preparation pathways through a component of Tennessee’s Grow Your Own initiative, the Tennessee Teacher Apprenticeship models. Tennessee was the first state in the country to sponsor registered teaching apprenticeship programs between school districts and Educator Preparation Providers (EPPs), and Tennessee’s Teacher Apprenticeship models align leading practices in teacher preparation and development with the rigors of the nationally registered apprenticeship process. 

Throughout the month of November, Tennessee will celebrate the state’s Grow Your Own initiative, which is inspiring the next generation of future teachers so that every student has access to a high-quality educator in their classroom. As a part of the department’s Best for All strategic plan, the Grow Your Own initiative aims to set a new path for the educator profession and for Tennessee to be the top state in which to become and remain a teacher and leader. 

To drive greater impact, the department and University of Tennessee System announced the launch of the Tennessee Grow Your Own Center, a $20 million investment to support statewide scale for educator pipeline expansion. The center has built new teacher apprenticeship models through the University of Tennessee System’s four campuses, in addition to other EPPs in the state, to meet localized needs, district feedback, and push for innovation. 

"We believe Tennessee’s Teacher Apprenticeship models will set the course for the nation’s educator pipeline, ultimately accelerating our innovation for not only teacher preparation – but the profession itself,” said Commissioner Penny Schwinn. “Continuing to learn and improve, we have a tremendous opportunity to think differently on how to ensure every child, in every classroom, has an excellent educator they most need – and deserve.”

Tennessee has developed innovative models that vary in time, modality, and approach - each meeting the registered teacher occupation apprenticeship structure. New programs will begin in January 2023. Learn more about the new Tennessee Teacher Apprenticeship Models here and below:

  • University of Tennessee, Knoxville now offers master's and Education Specialist teacher apprenticeship pathways
  • University of Tennessee, Martin now offers master's and bachelor’s teacher apprenticeship pathways
  • University of Tennessee, Chattanooga now offers master's, bachelor’s, and licensure-only teacher apprenticeship pathways
  • University of Tennessee, Southern now offers bachelor's and licensure-only teacher apprenticeship pathways
  • Lipscomb University now offers both master’s and licensure-only teacher apprenticeship pathways
  • Lincoln Memorial University now offers a master’s teacher apprenticeship pathway

“The University of Tennessee, Knoxville is grateful to continue delivering innovative, high-quality programs for districts and candidates statewide," said Dr. David Cihak, Associate Dean of Professional Licensure and Director of the CEHHS Graduate School of Education. "Through the Grow Your Own Center’s structure and TDOE supports, UTK is positioned to lead strong, varied teacher apprenticeship programs that meet the need of high-quality, impactful teacher preparation.”

“Teacher preparation is some of the most important work that we do as an institution, and the University of Tennessee, Martin is ready to serve our communities with no-cost programs to become a degreed, licensed teacher," said Dr. Staci Fuqua, Director of Educator Preparation Program & Accreditation, University of Tennessee, Martin. "Through our new teacher apprenticeship models, we are eager to support our districts in addressing their staffing challenges - and support our state’s commitment to exceptional academic experiences for all students.” 

“We are thrilled to continue supporting district-facing Grow Your Own programs through the teacher apprenticeship framework," said Dr. Kim Wingate, Associate Professor and Co-Interim Director of the University of Tennessee, Chattanooga School of Education. "Our models ensure new recruitment opportunities, responsive programs, and regional scale so that all Tennessee students have access to well-prepared, highly effective teachers.”

“The University of Tennessee, Southern is grateful to be included in the Tennessee Grow Your Own Center’s reach and impact, building and launching new teacher apprenticeship programs to support successful outcomes for our future teachers and leaders," said Jan Hanvy, Director of Teacher Education, University of Tennessee, Southern. "The effect of a strong educator is one that has lasting impacts, and we are determined to support our districts’ work to thoughtfully staff each classroom and building.”

The department has made available new Grow Your Own Case Studies for states and school districts looking to read about implementation, best practices, and learnings from previous participating Tennessee districts. Additional free, audience-specific resources for state and district leaders, education stakeholders and community members looking to learn more about teacher apprenticeships can be found at our website here.

To date, Tennessee has collaborated with 30+ states on their conception of new programs and pathways. Additionally, the state has received coverage of 35+ articles spanning local, regional, and national outlets to highlight the model, innovations in educator preparation development, and opportunities for future programmatic considerations. Further, Tennessee leaders have joined several national discussions and panels to share the state’s learning, implementation, and strategic work.

For Tennessee Department of Education media inquiries, contact Edu.MediaInquiries@tn.gov