Go back

APSU joins national teacher apprenticeship collaborative

By: Megan Simpson November 15, 2023


PHOTO: The Grow Your Own Teacher Residency program at Austin Peay State University has garnered national buzz as the first federally-registered teacher apprenticeship in the U.S. Teacher residents work full-time in several rural districts, like the Dickson County school employees pictured here, as well as in the Clarksville-Montgomery County School System.

CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. – This week, the Eriksson College of Education at Austin Peay State University joined the National Registered Apprenticeship in Teaching Educator-Preparation Program Collaborative. The newly launched organization, co-led by Deans for Impact and the National Center for Grow Your Own, is designed to:

The announcement comes during the 9th annual National Apprenticeship Week, Nov. 13-19, 2023. 

APSU worked with the Clarksville-Montgomery County School System to launch the nation's first federally registered teaching apprenticeship program in 2022. Hundreds of people are enrolled in the Grow Your Own Teacher Residency program. These students complete a bachelor’s degree in three years while working full-time as an educational assistant, with wraparound support from school district leaders, classroom mentors, and university faculty and staff. With help from federal and state funding, teacher apprentices can complete the degree program at no cost. 

“The Grow Your Own Teacher Residency is receiving national attention because it provides a solution to problems faced by school districts and aspiring teachers,” said Dr. Prentice Chandler, dean of the Eriksson College of Education. “This apprenticeship program creates a pipeline of talent to address teacher shortages, while community members with the passion and willingness to become educators are provided the structured support to achieve their dreams. We’ve started a movement in Clarksville, and we are excited that it’s spreading across the country.”


PHOTO: The second Grow Your Own Teacher Residency cohort graduated from Austin Peay State University in August 2022. 

Roughly 80 students have graduated from the Grow Your Own Teacher Residency, and the program has expanded to include local community colleges and rural Tennessee school districts as partners. The opportunity allows recent high school graduates and nontraditional students, including classified school district employees, to participate. 

“I have had the desire to be a teacher since I was a young child,” said Emily Holt, a CMCSS teacher resident. “I couldn't go to college after high school due to low financial aid. When I heard about the program, I knew it was exactly what I had been waiting for.”

Austin Peay joins 31 other programs from 17 states in this collaborative effort as the interest in launching teacher apprenticeships gains traction nationwide. 

“Students deserve to have teachers who are prepared with the knowledge and skills to create rigorous, affirming learning experiences and who reflect the diversity of student identities and experiences,” said Valerie Sakimura, executive director of Deans for Impact. “Registered Apprenticeships can be a powerful tool to make this a reality, but only if approved programs are thoughtfully designed, with a focus on quality and the needs of the community.”

David Donaldson, founder of the National Center for Grow Your Own, has worked hand-in-hand with the Eriksson College of Education for several years.

“The members in this collaborative are leaders and innovators in their communities,” he said. “I can’t wait to see them grow, learn from one another, and enter into partnerships with states and districts to prepare aspiring educators.”


Read the full launch announcement here. Connect with the EPP Collaborative at bit.ly/EPPCollaborative or Austin Peay’s Grow Your Own Teacher Residency at www.apsu.edu/education/grow-your-own.


Pillar Graphic - Full Color.png