CHADRON – The inauguration of Chadron State College’s twelfth president, Dr. Ron K. Patterson, is set for Friday, April 5, at 3 p.m. at Memorial Hall.

Patterson came to CSC from the University of North Alabama in Florence. His six-year administrative progression at the University of North Alabama included service as associate vice president for enrollment management, chief enrollment officer, and chief enrollment officer and special assistant to the president for diversity and inclusion with responsibility for both enrollment management, academic programs and centers, and diversity and inclusion.

Speakers include Chancellor of the Nebraska State College System Paul Turman, Rev. Tunde Oladimeji, George Klein, Clayton Riesen, Dr. Mathew Brust, Kate Pope, and Dr. JoAnne Owens Nauslar. Dr. James M. Pruett, a retired academic and business manager, will deliver the keynote address. Pruett and Patterson became friends while working together at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center.

Other speakers include CSC alum Jovan Mays, who will deliver an inaugural poem, and students Cooper Reichman, Brianna Smith, and Aubree Quast. Additionally, students and faculty will provide musical accompaniment to the ceremony. Sophia Oladimeji will sing the national anthem, while the Chadron State College Band under the direction of Dr. John Wojcik will perform the fanfare and processional composed by CSC Professor Dr. Michael Stephens. And, under the direction of Dr. Joel Schreuder, Chadron State College’s Concert Choir and the Chadron Community Chorus will perform a choral interlude.

Delegates representing academic institutions are invited to march in the academic procession that will begin in the Student Center. In case of inclement weather, the march will gather on the second floor of Memorial Hall. Those intending to march should complete the online RSVP form.

All guests are invited to a reception at the Math Science Center of Innovative Learning at 4:30 p.m. Transportation will be provided from Memorial Hall to the Math Science Center of Innovative Learning for those who need it.

The Inauguration webpage includes details about donating to the President’s Innovation and Entrepreneurship Fund. Donations will support innovative initiatives, foster partnerships, and enhance cutting-edge curriculum development. The webpage also includes information about other inauguration activities including the celebration of C-Hill’s 100th anniversary.

Nebraska Department of Education Launches Innovative Teacher Apprenticeship Program

LINCOLN – In a significant stride toward addressing the teacher shortage crisis in the state, the Nebraska Department of Education (NDE) has announced the Nebraska Teacher Apprenticeship Program. The initiative seeks to bolster recruitment and training of educators across Nebraska through an apprenticeship model, following the enactment of LB705 in 2023.

According to a press release from the NDE, the program is a visionary move by the Nebraska legislature, earmarking $1 million towards developing a robust mechanism for preparing future educators. The State Board ratified a partnership in August with the National Center for Grow Your Own (NCGYO), utilizing federal Title II set-aside funds. NCGYO's involvement has been pivotal, offering expert consultation to the NDE and spearheading technical assistance and informational sessions for prospective educator preparation providers and district pairings.

Unlike other para-to-teacher programs, teacher apprenticeships capitalize on hands-on training, allowing apprentices to work alongside their supervising teachers directly within the classroom. Apprentices benefit from education and training provided by partnering higher education institutions while also being employed by the district.

According to the NDE, the selection process for partnerships focused on entities previously involved in the pandemic relief-funded Educator Shortage Initiative, particularly those with a track record of transitioning paraprofessionals into teachers.

Highlighted partnerships include:

  • Midland University and Omaha Westside's "Growing Our Own Educator Assistant (EA) to Teacher Ladder Program."
  • The University of Nebraska-Lincoln and Lincoln Public Schools' initiative for "Building the Special Education Teacher Pipeline."
  • Chadron State College's "Panhandle Para to Teacher Academy including North Platte Public Schools."

These collaborative projects exemplify the program's commitment to innovative and sustainable solutions for the statewide education sector's challenges.

"The Nebraska Teacher Apprenticeship Program is a game-changer," said Nebraska Commissioner of Education Brian Maher. "By fostering strong partnerships between education providers and districts, we're not just addressing the immediate need for more teachers; we're investing in a future where every Nebraska child has access to highly qualified educators committed to their success."

The program represents a step forward in ensuring equitable, quality education for all students in Nebraska, solidifying the state's commitment to excellence and innovation in education.

Dr. Don King with Chadron State said he was pleased to be involved in efforts working to further meet teacher shortage needs.

“The NDE leadership too, has taken a lead role by providing key funding opportunities in support of ‘growing our own’ teacher programs. The NDE Teacher Education Apprenticeship Partnership Program initiative is a provocative example of how we are now thinking differently about teacher education program recruitment,” King said.