A-Z Index

News Release

Sept. 9, 2022

Grant award helping Northwest recruit, retain future teachers

Eight Northwest Missouri State University students have been selected to participate during the 2022-23 academic year in a grant-funded program aimed at providing them with valuable mentorship while helping local school districts address teacher shortages.

Northwest’s School of Education received a $40,000 grant from the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) to launch the teacher recruitment and retention program.

While the grant-funded program is designed to recruit and retain underrepresented teachers, Dr. Timothy Wall, dean of Northwest’s School of Education, notes it also infuses financial resources with social support.

We believe the best way to prepare this crop of bright future teachers is by surrounding the recipients with caring, committed, excellent teacher-mentors who ‘get it’ and care about student success,” Wall said. “We’ll also do research on the effectiveness of the grant, so we can identify strategies that work and those that might need to be improved to help teachers stay in the program and complete their preparation. We hope to have solid information in support of future opportunities. Any time we can support education majors, we embrace it.

Upon receiving the grant, Northwest recruited to the program undergraduate students who are majoring in an education-related field and have accumulated zero to 60 credits. Recruitment efforts also focused on students coming from underrepresented populations in the teaching field, including students of color, male students or students with lower socioeconomic status.

Each of the selected students receives a $3,000 scholarship for the 2022-23 academic year. They are:

  • Nick Bolton, a junior physical education major from Kansas City, Missouri
  • Grantland Brightwell, a sophomore physical education major from Thompson, Missouri
  • Brodie DeSchepper, a freshman physical education major from St. Joseph, Missouri
  • Carter Edwards, a freshman physical education major from Creve Couer, Missouri
  • Miles Jaques, a junior instrumental music education major from Milan, Missouri
  • Adrian Keller, a sophomore middle school education major from Slater, Missouri
  • Wilmer Ramos, a sophomore elementary education major from Kansas City, Missouri
  • Michail Todd, a sophomore social studies and history education major from Rosendale, Missouri

By working collaboratively with the Maryville R-II School District and the Savannah R-III School District, Northwest faculty hope the program will help recruit and retain future educators through innovative approaches aimed at historically underrepresented teacher candidates.

Additionally, they hope the grant funds lead to a positive impact on recruitment to teacher education programs by developing stronger partnerships and improving collaboration, providing preparation and support to students interested in the teaching profession, and by evaluating recruitment strategies.

It is our hope that this grant will increase our retention of teacher candidates from underrepresented areas and will position them to be highly-skilled and well-networked when they are seeking employment,” Dr. Tina M. Ellsworth, a Northwest assistant professor of education who co-authored the grant application, said. “Given that Savannah R-III and Maryville R-II are also seeking to diversify their workforce with teachers from underrepresented populations, this program gives both districts and opportunity to recruit teacher candidates from this program to join their faculty.

Ellsworth and Wall co-authored the grant with Dr. Joseph Haughey, an associate professor of English; Dr. Mike McBride, associate director of accreditation and assessment; Dr. Linda Smith, an associate professor of professional education; and Dr. Vicki Seeger, who retired last spring as an associate professor of professional education.

In its grant application, Northwest noted the challenges higher education and local school districts share in confronting declining enrollments in teacher preparation programs, which result in teacher shortages. In addition, studies suggest the COVID-19 pandemic has led to teachers leaving the profession, exacerbating the shortages in the field. Yet, studies also suggest “Grow Your Own” programs to support and mentor teacher candidates help mitigate the challenges.

By providing mentor support and fostering connections, the School of Education believes teacher candidates will experience a greater sense of belonging and be retained in Northwest’s teacher preparation program. The student participants will benefit from several tiers of support to position them for not only the completion of their degree program but for a job placement.

Throughout the year-long program, on-campus mentors will meet regularly with the student participants to offer one-on-one support and guidance. Mentors in partnering school districts also will meet regularly with the teacher candidates, invite them to be a part of their local school communities and provide opportunities for additional practical hours in the school district. The program also will provide the student participants with group professional learning opportunities.

Joining Wall as the University mentors are Jill Baker, senior instructor of professional education; Dr. Travis Dimmitt, assistant professor of professional education; Dr. Shantel Farnan, associate professor of professional education; Dr. Cindy Schairer-Kessler, assistant professor of professional education; Brian Swink, senior instructor of mathematics and statistics; Dr. Sara Taylor, assistant professor of professional education; and Dr. Jenni Wall, associate professor of mathematics and statistics.


Dr. Mark Hornickel
Administration Building
Room 215