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Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey signed an education bill into law on May 2, Teacher Appreciation Day, which he requested from legislators earlier this year. The law allows for alternative paths to teacher certification amidst Arizona’s dire teacher shortage.

Under the new law, American Board for the Certification of Teacher Excellence will be able to relaunch in Arizona and offer its online, affordable path to teacher certification. Enrollment for new candidates will begin July 1.

American Board focuses on recruiting qualified individuals who already live in communities suffering from the teacher shortage instead of hoping outsiders will move to rural areas and stay more than three years.

Arizona is in need of more than 2,000 teachers, according to the Arizona School Personnel Administrators Association. Shantel Tiner, an American Board alum and Arizona resident, is an example of how the alternative path to teacher certification programs can help individuals begin a fulfilling career as an educator.

“I always wanted to be a teacher. I knew I wanted to be one before I even finished my degree [in social work],” said Shantel. “American Board was the best match because I could study from home and my son was in preschool at the time. American Board gave me the knowledge I needed.”

Gov. Doug Ducey
Gov. Doug Ducey

In his State of the State address Gov. Ducey said, “If we are serious about supporting education, and tackling our teacher shortage, we’ve got to take action on multiple fronts.”

“We want the most qualified, most talented people leading our classrooms. So let’s get with the times, and place trust in our school boards, superintendents and principals by letting them make the hiring decisions, and remove the obstacles,” said Gov. Ducey.

The new law does exactly that, removing several obstacles which previously halted American Board from operating in Arizona. Since January, American Board has had to turn away dozens of potential teachers interested in leading Arizona classrooms. The nonprofit now looks forward to recruiting and training teachers who will stay long-term and helping Arizona communities begin to recover from the teacher shortage.

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