In his 2017 State of the State Address, Governor Doug Ducey called on the Board of Regents, Arizona’s public universities and community colleges to create a plan to prepare the next generation of Arizona public school teachers. 

Arizona’s three public universities reallocated resources, prioritized funding and utilized existing programs and scholarship funds to develop an academy that could address the state’s need for a prepared education workforce and provide a tuition waiver to teacher candidates who commit to teaching in Arizona.

The academy provides a rich educational experience delivered through bachelor’s, master’s and non-degree certification programs to meet the needs of traditional students and adult career changers and allowing individuals to participate at any point in their educational career from undergraduate to returning professionals. Graduates who commit to serving Arizona schools receive year-for-year tuition reduction, allowing students to graduate free from tuition and with low-to-no costs for their education.

The program provides demonstrable impacts on student outcomes, quality of instruction and teacher retention that meet the needs of the 21st-century classroom. In its first year, the academy enrolled 221 students across the state. Of the students enrolled, 102 completed a program of study after just one year in the academy and preliminary reports indicate 61 had accepted teaching positions in Arizona classrooms as of May 2018.

The availability of the academy has driven increased interest in teacher preparation programs with the universities reporting heightened community interest and applications to the academy outpacing available waivers. The academy is under continuous development by the board and the universities in collaboration with community colleges and public school partners.