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Wednesday, May 4, 2016 at the American Legion Post 65 in Phoenix, the Checkered Flag Run Foundation and Teachers on Call Arizona convened school districts, veterans and teacher organizations to launch the Veterans Reach to Teach initiative designed to assist veterans who have a bachelor’s degree in obtaining a substitute teaching certificate.  


The program will serve as a resource to bridge the gap between substitute teaching vacancies and the more than 532,000 veterans living in Arizona.  According to Arizona Representative, Reginald Bolding, Jr, who spoke on the program, “We know our Veterans are hungry to serve as service and sacrifice are engrained in who they are – and they are looking to serve the local communities in education.”  For the upcoming 2016-2017 school year, nearly 1,700 substitute teacher vacancies are anticipated, representing a significant increase from the 1,200 reported by 85 school districts in August 2015. 

Others on the program included veteran, host and former teacher, Dennis Prince; Dan Nienhauser, Executive Director of Teachers on Call Arizona; Aaron Bare, founder of Purposely, Inc.; former Vice Mayor, Michael Johnson; Kerwin Brown, President and CEO Black Chamber of Arizona; and veteran and former principal/substitute teacher Dr. Robert “Bob” Pipkin who shared that he “does not give up on kids” because as a student, “so many teachers had given up on me [him].”  He went on to say “if there is one child I [he] can make a difference for…I [he] will every time.”

A representative from the Arizona Department of Education was present to provide insight on the criteria and process for obtaining a substitute teaching certificate.  Participating school districts included Roosevelt, Creighton, Laveen Elementary, Tempe, Phoenix Union High; Tolleson Union High.  Also present was US Air Force Major and first lady of Pilgrim Rest Baptist Church, Michelle Thomas as well as Adam Such, Lt. Colonel, Army Special Forces and Vice President of Military External Affairs, University of Phoenix who said “this is what right looks like when the community comes together to create a pathway for veterans to continue to serve their communities.

The collective effort set the platform for providing veterans an opportunity to continue to serve the communities of Arizona because children are the future and there is no better thing than to have veterans teach from their wealth of knowledge, skill and experience.

Obtaining a fingerprint clearance card and Arizona substitute teaching certificate are among the requirements for becoming a substitute teacher.  If you know a veteran with questions on becoming a substitute teacher or needing more information on the Veterans Reach to Teach program share this article and visit www.teachersoncallaz.com.


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