Wiregrass launches a Georgia Teacher Academy

January 31, 2013

Valdosta, GA—Wiregrass Georgia Technical College and the Technical College System of Georgia have been approved as a Georgia Teacher Academy for Preparation and Pedagogy (GaTAPP) provider. GaTAPP is utilized by the State of Georgia’s Professional Standards Commission to help reduce Georgia's teacher shortage. The program enables those with a Bachelor's degree or higher to transition into the teaching profession through an alternative path. Wiregrass will be the first technical college in the system to become a GaTAPP provider under the approval.

A council made up of P-12 educators and administrators met on January 30 to hear the announcement of the approval from Wiregrass President Dr. Ray Perren, and TCSG Curriculum Specialist Steve Cagle. GaTAPP advisory council members include Kim Clayton, Director of Personnel and Public Relations for Coffee County Schools; Laura Frizzell, Professional Learning with Coastal Plain RESA; Lance Heard, Superintendent of Cook County Schools; Jania Klein, Contracts and Certifications for Valdosta City Schools; Laura Lucas, Director of Special Education for Valdosta City Schools; Brad Riner, Director of Career, Technical, and Agricultural Education for Coffee County Schools; Creacy Sermons, Director for Professional Learning for Lowndes County Schools; Mark Sutton, CTAE and FTE Director and Director of Management of Management for Technology for Ben Hill County Schools; Jennifer Thornton, Teaching and Learning Coordinator for Valdosta City Schools; and Lynne Wilson, Director of Career, Technical and Agricultural Education for Lowndes County Schools.

According to Lynn Wilson of Lowndes High School, and GaTAPP council chair, this program will give the school systems the ability to hire more people with industry experience. “We find that teachers that come out of industry bring great experience to the classroom.” Lance Heard, superintendent of Cook County Schools, and GaTAPP vice chair, commented that their greatest obstacle is finding math and science teachers, and this program will open up more avenues for hiring teachers.

GaTAPP candidates will begin with a two-week summer course and take various courses/seminars throughout the school year while teaching in a P-12 classroom. The program is conducted through extensive training, classroom observations, and field experiences, and candidates can take 1-3 years to complete all requirements. Wiregrass is the first technical college in the state of Georgia to be approved to offer the GaTAPP program.

Applications for the 2013-2014 GaTAPP programs are now being accepted. To apply or find out more information, visit http://www.wiregrass.edu/academics/gatapp.php. If you have any questions or need more information, please contact April McDuffie, GaTAPP Coordinator at (229) 468-2103 or email april.mcduffie@wiregrass.edu; or Liane Holbrook, GaTAPP Support Services Coordinator at (229) 333-2100, ext. 3081 or email liane.holbrook@wiregrass.edu.