RALEIGH—Through well-established traditions of investing in teacher education, the SECU Foundation and Appalachian State University are working together to bring a new rural teacher education scholarship program to Western North Carolina and the Appalachian region – the SECU Appalachian Partnership.
Officials from State Employees’ Credit Union (SECU), the SECU Foundation and Appalachian gathered recently in Blowing Rock for the formal announcement of a $1.76 million grant in support of the teacher scholarship program over a seven-year period. SECU Foundation Board Chair McKinley Wooten presented the check to Chancellor Sheri N. Everts on behalf of SECU members who fund the SECU Foundation.
Modeled after the successful SECU Partnership East program at East Carolina University, the SECU Appalachian Partnership program is intended to build upon existing programs that support college access and aid students as they transfer from two-year programs into Appalachian’s teacher education programs, with a goal for graduates to teach in their local communities.
Eligible students will graduate with a four-year teaching degree from Appalachian’s Reich College of Education by completing the first two years of coursework at regional community colleges then transferring into an elementary education, middle grades education or special education program for coursework at one of 10 North Carolina community colleges through Appalachian’s partnering program, The Appalachian Learning Alliance.
The SECU Appalachian Partnership will focus on administering the teacher program in Caldwell, Burke, Catawba, Wilkes and Mitchell counties, with scholarship funding assisting college students in their junior and senior years of coursework study, internship and student teaching.
“We are grateful to State Employees’ Credit Union members for their commitment to the SECU Appalachian Partnership teacher education scholarship program,” said Everts. “There is a well-publicized need for new teachers; it’s estimated that North Carolina must hire 10,000 to 12,000 new teachers each year to keep up with the growing population. Supporting the preparation of excellent educators who are prepared to address the learning differences and challenges in the communities where they reside offers a significant opportunity to address the needs of underserved students and schools within home communities.”
Wooten remarked, “SECU members understand the benefits and great strides that can be made by offering scholarships through a valued teacher education program. Appalachian has a great reputation for teacher education and training, and through our partnership, we look forward to North Carolina’s future filled with high-quality educators who will remain in their home counties to teach, filling the ongoing demand for well-trained professionals in our public school system.”
About SECU and the SECU Foundation
A not-for-profit financial cooperative owned by its members, SECU has been providing employees of the State of North Carolina and their families with consumer financial services for almost 78 years. The Credit Union also offers a diversified line of financial advisory services including retirement and education planning, tax preparation, insurance, trusts, estate planning and investments through its partners and affiliated entities. SECU serves nearly 2 million members through 254 branch offices, over 1,100 ATMs, 24/7 Contact Centers and a website, http://www.ncsecu.org. The SECU Foundation, a 501c (3) charitable organization funded solely by the contributions of SECU members, promotes local community development in North Carolina primarily through high impact projects in the areas of housing, education, healthcare and human services.
About Appalachian State University
Appalachian State University, in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains, prepares students to lead purposeful lives as global citizens who understand and engage their responsibilities in creating a sustainable future for all. The transformational Appalachian experience promotes a spirit of inclusion that brings people together in inspiring ways to acquire and create knowledge, to grow holistically, to act with passion and determination, and embrace diversity and difference. As one of 17 campuses in the University of North Carolina system, Appalachian enrolls about 19,000 students, has a low student-to-faculty ratio and offers more than 150 undergraduate and graduate majors.