The success of the Teach Tennessee program has paved the way for some of the certification changes Tennessee has seen in recent years, said Gov. Phil Bredesen Thursday at the kickoff for the program’s latest class.
This week marked the start of training for the latest class of Teach Tennessee, a statewide, Department of Education-run program that draws mid-career professionals, retirees and others to teach primarily math and science classes.
The soon-to-be teachers include a financial planner, environmental scientist, bridge engineer, automotive designer, banker, and other professionals. The idea is that these adults will bring their experience to classrooms, as well as a special ability to prepare kids for careers.
“Really, this experience has made us much more comfortable in going forward with the changes that we made to the whole teacher certification issue, which are all done now,” Bredesen said. “I think these people have proven that it’s possible to come into the classroom from a background that is not a school of education somewhere, and do a really good job of teaching. So let’s get more of them.”
Teach Tennessee teachers, if hired by Metro Nashville Public Schools, will join the larger number of non-traditional, alternative certification teachers set to be trained by Teach for America and the New Teacher Project. Teach for America and New Teacher Project teachers debut in Nashville this fall.
This year, the program will prepare two classes of 35 teachers for classrooms.
Three Davidson County residents have been accepted to the program, and will apply for public school jobs at the end of this summer.
Teach Tennessee provides a path to licensure, but does not guarantee job placements. Program participants pay the fees associated with any college credit courses they will be expected to take, as well as the cost of licensure exams.
Visit the group’s Web site  for more information.