Strategic Planning Update: Forging a Bold Vision for the Future


Greetings! It has been several months since the last update on AACTE’s strategic planning process, and there is plenty to report. First, if you have been following these blogs you will note that I am not writing with my friend and colleague, Kim Metcalf.  Kim is now the chair of the AACTE Board of Directors, and he has asked me to assume the solo chairmanship of the Strategic Planning Task Force since he will have a lot on his plate. I know he will stay close to the work and will be a huge help as we work to complete he plan.

Along with Kim’s departure from the Task Force, there have been additional changes. We have bid a fond farewell to Dean Alberto Ruiz of Texas A & M University Kingsville, who has rotated off the AACTE Board of Directors, and have welcomed Chair-elect of the Board Ann Larson, dean of the College of Education and Human Development at the University of Louisville and new board member Dale-Elizabeth Pehrsson, who is president of Clarion University of Pennsylvania and a former college of education dean. These new Task Force members join Laurie Mullen, dean of the College of Education at Towson University, and members of the National Office staff (see the full Task Force roster).

Apply to join AACTE’s Special Education Teacher Shortage NIC


AACTE is now accepting applications from member institutions to join a new networked improvement community (NIC) focused on special education teacher recruitment and retention.

The shortage of special education teachers and the lack of diversity among all teachers have been well documented. Half of all schools and 90% of high-poverty schools struggle to find qualified special education teachers.

The aim of this NIC is to positively impact the special education teacher shortage and the lack of diversity in the special education teacher workforce in public schools. Participating institutions will identify a range of best practices related to increasing enrollment, strengthening partnerships with P-12 schools, and retaining special education teachers.

Read more about this new initiative on our website and in the Reducing the Shortage of Special Education Teachers NIC Charter.

Applications are due on April 1, 2019.  Member institutions will be selected through a structured review process and notified in late April of 2019. An introductory virtual meeting will be held in May of 2019, and the first in-person convening will be held in the fall of 2019.

AACTE to form Special Education Networked Improvement Community (NIC)

AACTE will launch a Networked Improvement Community focused on Special Education Teacher Recruitment and Retention in May of 2019. The NIC will investigate strategies to address the persistent shortages in the field of special education.

The shortage of special education teachers and the lack of diversity among all teachers have been well documented. Half of all schools and 90% of high-poverty schools struggle to find qualified special education teachers. Forty-eight states and the District of Columbia report special education teacher shortages. However, special education teacher shortages are not evenly distributed across the country. Generally, high poverty areas—both urban and rural—are most likely to experience the most severe teacher shortages, including those in special education. States vary in the degree of shortage they experience.

AACTE Welcomes New Director of Government Relations

AACTE announces the newest addition to its staff, K. Ward Cummings, director of government relations.

“We are delighted to have Ward join us at AACTE,” said President and CEO Lynn M. Gangone. “He brings a wealth of policymaking experience and legislative expertise that will help further advance our advocacy work on both the national and state levels.”

Before joining AACTE, Cummings was a policy adviser for the Committee on the Budget in the U.S. House of Representatives, a senior legislative adviser to U.S. Representative Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, and director of intergovernmental affairs in the Maryland State government. He is the co-creator of the Congressional Negotiation Program, a collaboration between Harvard Law School and the Partnership for a Secure America to teach negotiation, conflict resolution, and coalition building skills to senior Capitol Hill staffers. He is a board member of the Rosenthal Fellowship, a program designed to provide international affairs graduate students with Federal government occupational experience.

AACTE Strategic Planning Process Update

In our last blog, we invited you to contribute to the strategic planning process by reacting to a draft of the plan that outlined the vision, mission, strategic priorities and core values of our Association. Thanks to all of you who provided your insights. In today’s update, we’ll share some of what we heard and how we plan to incorporate your ideas going forward.

In addition to providing concrete feedback on the draft text, many of you also asked for a plan that is more forward-thinking and that outlines how AACTE can help shape the future as well as navigate the challenges and opportunities that it presents. For example, how will trends such as competency-based and technology-enabled instruction influence both the daily work of the educators we prepare and our own programs?  How can we best confront the teacher shortage in partnership with PK-12 leaders and state policy makers, while also ensuring the quality of the education workforce?  What more can we and the same partners do to ensure that the profession is diverse and that educators are prepared to effectively instruct all learners?

Call for Proposals: Holmes Scholars Dissertation Funding Competition

AACTE, the 2018 Holmes Council, and the National Association of Holmes Scholars Alumni (NAHSA) invite current doctoral-level Holmes Scholars to submit a proposal for the 2019 AACTE Holmes Scholars Dissertation Funding Competition (DFC). The competition will take place 10:00 a.m. on Friday, February 22, during the Holmes Preconference Meeting at the Louisville Marriott Downtown in Louisville, KY.

The purpose of the DFC is to defray expenses of a Holmes Scholar’s doctoral research project. This funding competition helps take Holmes Scholars to the next level and provides a collegial and competitive space. This experience is designed to enhance Scholars’ competitiveness as they prepare to enter the job market.

AACTE Initiatives in Special Education Preparation Take Flight

AACTE is a national partner for the University of Florida’s Collaboration for Effective Educator Development, Accountability, and Reform (CEEDAR) Center, which helps states and institutions of higher education to develop the ability of every teacher to prepare students with disabilities for college and careers. As a federally funded multi-million dollar project, CEEDAR works with AACTE and others to promote the preparation of all educators to have the mindset and skillset for effectively instructing students with disabilities along with all other students in the mainstream classroom.

“This initiative is about ensuring that all educators have the skills to work effectively with students with disabilities,” said AACTE Consultant Jane West, who leads the Association’s work with CEEDAR. “Special education has too often been considered a place and not a service. We are highlighting and promoting preparation for both general and special educators so they can provide effective instruction to students with disabilities in inclusive ways with an eye toward raising expectations and undermining the stigmatizing of students with disabilities.”

Radio Show Highlights Efforts to Retain, Recruit Black and Hispanic/Latino Male Teachers

AACTE members Ernest Black and John Kuykendal joined AACTE consultant Amanda Lester on a recent episode of Education Talk Radio to discuss the networked improvement community’s (NIC’s) study on the challenges and opportunities to increase Black, Hispanic, and Latino male teachers nationwide.

“Using a NIC is part of an ‘improvement science’ approach to looking at a problem of practice that persists in education,” explained Lester. The NIC involved a study of 10 institutions that shared their own experiences in recruiting and retaining teacher candidates in this population. Black and Kuykendal represent two of the college preparation programs that participated in the study, which began in 2014.

The premise of the research is that Black and Hispanic/Latino male students underperform in schools but when paired with Black and Hispanic/Latino male teachers for as little as one year, their success improves.

AACTE Welcomes New Hires to National Office

I am thrilled to announce a series of hires within the National Office. I invite you to join me in welcoming these new AACTE team members as they join us in our goal to exceed expectations for distinctive, member-centered work that continues to move our profession forward in a multitude of ways.

Jacqueline (Jackie) Rodriguez is the AACTE assistant vice president, programs and professional learning. She has a Ph.D. in education with a focus on exceptional education from the University of Central Florida and an M.A. in special education with a learning disabilities specialization from American University. She earned her B.A. in international affairs from The George Washington University. Prior to joining AACTE, Jackie served the College of William & Mary in many capacities, including as assistant professor in the School of Education (areas of teaching and research: inclusive education, culturally and linguistically diverse exceptional learners, teacher preparation, special education, education policy, and education policy to practice). A Holmes Scholars alumna, Jackie established the Holmes Scholars Program during her tenure at the college. Jackie began her career as a special education teacher. She is the secretary to the Higher Education Consortium for Special Education and active in the Teacher Education Division of the Council for Exceptional Children. She serves on several editorial boards and was a McKnight Doctoral Fellow.

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