The Arizona Teachers Academy, created by Governor Doug Ducey in 2017, aims to tackle the nationwide teacher shortage by creating the next generation of Arizona teachers.
Students in the program, which operates at Arizona State University, Northern Arizona University and the University of Arizona, receive a scholarship covering their tuition and fees in exchange for committing to teach in an Arizona public school.
By removing the financial burden of tuition, the Arizona Teachers Academy makes it easier for potential educators to pursue career opportunities and helps ensure the best and brightest teachers get to the front of Arizona classrooms.
During his 2019 State of the State address, Governor Ducey highlighted the success of the Teachers Academy and called for expanding the program:
“Four years ago, I heard what sounded like a really good idea to address the teacher shortage. If someone graduates from an Arizona university, is willing to stay in Arizona, and teach in a public school, why not allow them to graduate debt-free by providing a scholarship?
“So we turned it into reality and launched the Arizona Teachers Academy. Already, 221 students have started moving through the program. This year we plan to significantly expand it: more dollars, more support. We are going to create a pipeline of talent and the next generation of Arizona teachers.”
Governor Ducey’s fiscal year 2020 budget makes a permanent investment of $21 million to expand the Arizona Teachers Academy. The additional investment expands eligibility to Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) disciplines, provides tuition benefits for up to four years and adds financial incentives for students who teach in critical-need areas like special education or schools in low-income districts.