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11/09/2018

Gov. Malloy Encourages Veterans to Apply for Troops to Teachers Program

Reminds State’s Former and Active Duty Service Members of Program Available to Help Veterans Pursue Careers as Educators

(HARTFORD, CT) – In observation of Veterans Day, Governor Dannel P. Malloy is reminding school districts, veterans and their families, and all residents about Connecticut’s Troops to Teachers program, and encouraging service members and veterans to apply.

Troops to Teachers is an initiative that provides service members who are transitioning into civilian life and veterans who have already left service with the training necessary to seek careers as school teachers in K-12 schools. The program, which also helps participants find employment as a teacher once the training is complete, helps reduce veteran unemployment while also providing students with exceptional role models in the classroom.

“Ensuring that our veterans continue in successful careers beyond their military service while also providing the next generation of students with extraordinary role models is a win for everyone involved, and the Troops to Teachers program provides just that opportunity,” Governor Malloy said. “The men and women of our armed forces have a unique set of experiences and skills that are beneficial in the classroom. I have had the pleasure of working closely with many of the people in our military and have witnessed their drive and passion for our communities. I encourage our veterans to consider extending their service in a new and exciting way by applying to the Troops to Teachers program.”

In May, the Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support (DANTES) – a component of the U.S. Department of Defense – awarded the Connecticut State Department of Education (SDE) a $1.1 million federal grant to initiate and administer the program in Connecticut.

There are approximately 200,000 veterans living in Connecticut. Nearly 41,000 of these veterans are between the ages of 20 to 44 and enter the civilian workforce with a highly desirable set of technical and leadership skills that contribute to the profile of an effective educator. The program will assist eligible veterans in securing school or district positions during their educator preparation programs, as well as provide transition supports as veterans move into full-time teaching positions.

Connecticut’s Troops to Teachers program will recruit a minimum of 40 veterans in the first year, securing a minimum of 20 teaching positions requiring a long-term substitute authorization or a Durational Shortage Area Permit in identified shortage areas. Troops to Teachers participants will serve as educators or administrators at high-needs public and charter schools that meet certain criteria, including schools that have at least 30 percent of their students eligible for free or reduced lunch; schools that have at least 13 percent of the students enrolled in the school qualify for assistance of the Individual Disabilities Education Act; and schools that have students enrolled in a Bureau of Indian Affairs funded school.

**On the Web: Veterans interesting in seeking more information on the program should click here**

“One of our priorities at the State Department of Education is a commitment to providing students with great teachers and leaders,” SDE Commissioner Dianna Wentzell said. “Troops to Teachers aligns with that goal by honoring those who have served by providing them the opportunity to serve in our classroom, often bringing the unique knowledge and skills gained during military service. This valuable recruitment program ensures greater representation of veterans in our schools and classrooms and enriches our educator workforce with talented men and women dedicated to serving all of Connecticut’s students.”

“The Troops to Teachers program is a great example of the state of Connecticut stepping forward to assist our veterans whether in the process of transitioning from military to civilian life or years after returning home,” Connecticut Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) Commissioner Thomas J. Saadi said. “As we commemorate Veterans Day, we must remember that our freedom and democracy has been paid for through the service and sacrifice of our men and women in the armed forces past and present and we must serve them so that they may enjoy the freedoms that they fought to protect all of us.”

“Veterans are known for their leadership skills, can-do attitude, and strong work ethic,” Connecticut Department of Labor (CTDOL) Commissioner Kurt Westby said. “These skills, combined with their transferrable military experience, strong values and team spirit, make for a good fit in the classroom and will help them serve as outstanding role models and educators to our students. This initiative assists our veterans returning to civilian life and provides opportunities to develop new and effective teachers for our schools.”

“Connecticut National Guardsmen – and service members in general – bring a unique skill set that many employers look for when hiring new talent,” Major General Fran Evon, Adjutant General and Commander of the Connecticut National Guard, said. “I encourage our men and women in uniform with a desire to pass along these skills to the next generation as leaders in the classroom.”

The program is led by SDE’s Chief Talent Officer and Talent Department staff, as well as Teacher Leader in Residence Sal Escobales, who is an experienced classroom educator and veteran. Mr. Escobales is a science teacher at New Britain High School in the Consolidated School District of New Britain and joined the Troops to Teachers program staff in October. He served in the U.S. Army/Army Reserve Military Police Corps for seven years and is a veteran of Operation Desert Shield/Storm. As the Troops to Teachers’ Teacher Leader in Residence, he provides individualized guidance to veterans in selecting the most appropriate and expedient pathway to teaching careers aligned to veterans’ unique skill sets.

SDE staff will work with Veterans Representatives from CTDOL, and DVA will facilitate SDE’s connections with veteran organizations throughout Connecticut and in the region to assist in bolstering the program. A Troops to Teachers Coordinating Council is facilitating partnerships with Connecticut State Universities, educator preparation programs, school district superintendents, personnel directors, and student veterans’ affairs organizations. The Connecticut Department of Labor will assist the SDE’s Talent Office in attracting veterans to the teaching profession. The program will also provide mentors and engage veterans in communities of practice for shared professional learning experiences that support these new teachers and leaders.

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