Above: Ana Raygoza, an OCU alumna and teacher at Westwood Elementary School, teaches her first grade class. Raygoza was assisted in networking with the Oklahoma City Public Schools district through OCU.
OCU officials have announced the addition of a new master’s degree program in Elementary Teaching.
Classes in the program will begin in summer 2015. The new program is a two-years masters program.
In a statement about the program, Elizabeth Willner, the director of teacher education, said that a need for more qualified public school teachers motivated university officials to begin the new program.
“There is a severe shortage of qualified teachers for public schools…across the state,” Willner said. “Districts have resorted to hiring teachers with little or no preparation to fill these positions. This is especially true in elementary and early childhood education.”
Willner said that the close ties between OCU and Oklahoma City public schools will draw prospective teachers to the program. She also believes that the new program will draw more experienced students looking for a career change that will positively benefit the community.
Willner also cited the fact that three of the last 10 state Teacher of the Year award winners were OCU alumni who teach in the Oklahoma City area.
“We have a good relationship with local school districts, which will help us place our teacher candidates with master teachers for their practicums and internships,” Willner said.
For more information about the program, contact education department chairwoman Lois Lawler-Brown at 405-208-5374.