Las Vegas, N.M – A veteran teacher and administrator with a passion for education will lead New Mexico Highlands University’s new fast track teacher licensure program aimed at getting professionals with bachelor’s degrees or higher into education careers faster.
Lorraine Martínez, who has more than 30 years of experience as a classroom teacher and administrator with Las Vegas City Schools, is the new project coordinator for the Highlands School of Education Alternative Teacher Certification Program.
Details about the fast track teacher licensure program are online at the School of Education webpage at www.nmhu.edu/fasttrack. Use the “intent to apply survey link” to begin the application process. The program will start in March 2019, with the first cohort of students graduating in March 2020. A new cohort will begin in August 2019.
“We’ve worked to make the application process as easy as possible,” Martínez said. “Interest is very strong since we announced this new program in December 2018, and we’ve already received more than 100 inquiries. It’s generated lots of excitement.”
Martínez said the new teacher fast track licensure program will help build the pipeline of licensed teachers in New Mexico, which has a teacher shortage. The program features three tracks, including elementary, secondary and special education.
“New Mexico children will benefit from this new program because we’re getting a diverse population of applicants from many professions ranging from the medical field to business and the sciences,” Martínez said.
Some of the program highlights include the fact that the courses will be offered online to accommodate professional adult learners; all participants will receive support via online and face-to-face seminars; and participants have the opportunity to be employed as teachers while they are completing the program.
“Mentor teachers will guide, support and provide constant feedback to the teacher candidates. The School of Education will immerse the students in authentic academic and professional opportunities to bridge theory and practice and engage in critical reflection,” Martínez said.
Students in the new teacher certification program will graduate with a master’s certificate.
“This master’s certificate will position these new teachers to advance within the State of New Mexico’s three-tiered licensure system, leading to higher pay,” Martínez said, adding that teaching is the most rewarding career she could have chosen. “Teachers impact the lives of students in profound ways, from building their self-esteem to instilling a love of learning. Teachers also have the opportunity to be innovative and creative thinkers.”
Martinez, who earned both her bachelor’s degree and two master’s degrees in education from Highlands, has also taught as adjunct faculty in the School of Education for 19 years.
The Higher Learning Commission, New Mexico Public Education Department, and the Highlands Board of Regents all approved the proposal for the Alternative Teacher Certification Program.
For more information about Highlands’ new fast track teacher licensure program, contact Martínez at firstname.lastname@example.org or 505-454-3509.