Kennesaw State, DeKalb Schools partner for pipeline of highly trained educators


KENNESAW, Ga. (May 18, 2024) — Through a new partnership with Kennesaw State University, a group of DeKalb County educators will receive specialized training and earn a master’s degree to assist with their district’s student needs.

The Inspiring Greatness and Normalizing Innovation in Teacher Education (IGNITE) Teacher Residency Program aims to bolster teacher retention and combat a shortage of educators, while providing them with no-cost professional development. DeKalb County Schools launched the program in January, but the new partnership with KSU will expand it to specifically address a need for special education teachers.

“Bagwell College prides itself on graduating prepared and highly qualified educators, who are ready to take on the next challenge in the classroom,” said Adrian Epps, dean of KSU’s Bagwell College of Education. “This partnership with DeKalb Schools, and other partnerships with K-12 districts, will create a cadre of teachers committed to their students and to the needs of specialized areas of education.”

The purpose of the IGNITE DeKalb Teacher Residency Program is to create an alternate route to certification programs designed to prepare high quality, committed, aspiring teachers who can work effectively with students in Horizon schools across DeKalb County. These aspiring teachers may be current paraprofessionals, substitute teachers, tutors, non-certified employees or college graduates who have a passion for teaching the next generation of scholars.

Bagwell College has similarly partnered with Paulding County Schools and Rome City Schools to create pipelines of quality educators and combat teacher shortages locally and statewide.

The 25 teachers selected for DeKalb’s IGNITE residency program will earn a Master of Arts in Teaching in Special Education from the Department of Inclusive Education in the Bagwell College. The DeKalb County School District will bear the cost of tuition, textbooks, certification assessments, and fees on behalf of candidates selected. All candidates will be employed by DCSD and serve in a paid $30,000, full-time, student-facing position, alongside a mentor, while completing their coursework and clinical experience requirements.

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