Hardin Foundation grant helps MSU-Meridian and Meridian Public School District partner to put more teachers in classrooms

Contact: Lisa SollieAssistant professor Jeff Leffler speaks to education majors in the Collabatory located at MSU-Meridian's College Park Campus

MERIDIAN, Miss.—Mississippi State University-Meridian and Meridian Public School District are teaming up to address teacher shortages, thanks to a grant from the Phil Hardin Foundation.

The foundation’s board of directors recently announced plans to fully fund alternate route certification courses for 15 students who already hold bachelor’s degrees in areas other than education. Necessary courses can be completed this fall semester, meaning individuals will be ready for placement in MPSD classrooms by January 2019.

“We are excited about the opportunity to expand our Teach Meridian campaign in partnership with MSU-Meridian,” MPSD Superintendent Amy Carter said. “The grant provided through the Phil Hardin Foundation affords prospective teachers financial assistance to become a teacher, which benefits both our students and our community.”

The Phil Hardin Foundation, known for its mission of improving educational opportunities throughout the state, has long supported MSU-Meridian, establishing two libraries along with helping support the MSU Riley Center for Education and Performing Arts.

“Mississippi State University-Meridian is doing an outstanding job of matching MSU’s resources with the community’s needs, and there is no greater educational need in Meridian in this era of teacher shortages than well-prepared, high-quality teachers in the classroom,” said Lloyd Gray, Hardin Foundation executive director. “We are excited about this partnership between MSU and the Meridian Public School District and what it can mean for the children of this community.”

MSU is the leading provider of educators in this region of the state, having more than half of the prestigious 2017-2018 Golden Apple recipients as alumni, including the current Golden Apple Award Teacher of the Year. The Golden Apple awards program honors and recognizes excellence in teaching.

“I am pleased Dr. Carter and the Phil Hardin Foundation entrusted us with this opportunity,” said Terry Dale Cruse, MSU-Meridian’s administrative director and head of campus. “Our education faculty are the best in the region and prepare the strongest educators for local school districts.”

Those interested in alternate route certification can attend an informational session at 6 p.m. on Monday, July 30, at MSU-Meridian’s College Park Campus. Advisers will discuss the program and guide prospective students through the application process. Attendees are encouraged to bring copies of undergraduate transcripts, and may call 601-484-0185 for more information.

To learn more about MSU-Meridian, visit www.meridian.msstate.edu.

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