Clarksville, TN (07/06/2023) — WASHINGTON, D.C. - Dr. Prentice Chandler, dean of the Eriksson College of Education at Austin Peay State University, will participate in an educator preparation congressional briefing at the Capitol Visitor Center, Room 215, at 11:30 a.m., July 18. Chandler is one of a handful of higher education experts scheduled to speak in the nation's capital.

The briefing, Strengthening educator preparation: addressing needs and exploring innovative solutions, is organized by the University of Northern Iowa, American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE) and American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU). By engaging leading experts in teacher education, the organizers aim to shape policy discussions, enhance understanding, and foster collaboration between higher education institutions, the K-12 education system, and U.S. legislators.

"The challenges faced by both school districts and educator preparation programs are real, but they are not impossible to overcome," Chandler said. "I look forward to sharing our work at Austin Peay with congressional leaders in order to spur further conversations on how to support and advance the teaching profession."

The briefing will bring together a group of university presidents, deans, and superintendents from around the country for a candid conversation on a breadth of issues impacting educator preparation. In addition to Chandler, other speakers include:

Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA) and Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) will open the briefing, and AACTE President and CEO Lynn M. Gangone will provide closing remarks.

Chandler is uniquely poised to speak on teacher education, with the Eriksson College of Eriksson known for nationally-recognized innovations that place it as a leading teacher education program. These innovations include the Grow Your Own Teacher Residency, where APSU partners with local school districts and community colleges to offer a bachelor's degree at no cost to accepted teacher residents. These teacher residents work as paid paraprofessionals in local school districts while working toward their degree in a three-year, accelerated format. This program is designed to directly address the teacher shortages experienced at school districts throughout Tennessee, while creating an affordable pathway to degree completion. The residency partnership between APSU and Clarksville-Montgomery County School System resulted in the first federally-registered teacher apprenticeship in 2022.

"The Grow Your Own Teacher Apprenticeship model is gaining traction across the nation, and President Biden recognized it as a leading strategy to address persistent problems in attracting and retaining talented teachers," Chandler said. "During the congressional briefing, I plan to share more about our successes at Austin Peay State University. These successes are possible in large part due to our partnerships and ability to think outside the box when it comes to educator preparation."

Chandler is a distinguished leader in higher education, working in various leadership roles at Athens State University and the University of Cincinnati before coming to Austin Peay. Chandler began his career as a middle and high school social studies teacher in Limestone County, Alabama. In 2007, Chandler was awarded the Defense of Academic Freedom Award from the National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS) for his efforts teaching history in Alabama public schools. In 2018, he was awarded the Notable Leader in Teacher Education Award from the Alabama Association of Teacher Educators.

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