The Valencia College Foundation has received a $125,000 contribution from CFE Federal Credit Union to fund a project called the “Future Teachers Academy.” The gift was announced Tuesday at the Osceola County School Board meeting in Kissimmee.
The goal of this new program is to address teacher shortages in Osceola County by recruiting Osceola County high school students to study at Valencia College and pursue a teaching career in the School District of Osceola County following the completion of their degrees. The college will use CFE’s donation to award scholarships to students in the Future Teachers Academy, starting with the fall 2017 class.
“We greatly appreciate CFE Federal Credit Union’s support of students who have an interest in the teaching profession and a passion for giving back to their community,” said Dr. Kathleen Plinske, president of Valencia’s Osceola, Lake Nona and Poinciana campuses.
Students in the Future Teachers Academy will take classes at Valencia’s Osceola Campus and serve as paid substitute teachers for the school district. After finishing their associate degrees, they’ll be able to complete their bachelor’s degrees from the University of Central Florida at its regional campus located at Valencia’s Osceola Campus. The School District of Osceola County has guaranteed a job offer to any student who successfully completes the program.
“CFE was founded by educators in 1937, and we have remained firmly committed to our educational heritage,” said Kevin Miller, executive vice president, chief administrative officer and general counsel for CFE Federal Credit Union. “We look forward to working alongside Valencia College to invest in tomorrow’s educators and the future of Central Florida as a whole.”
“The Future Teachers Academy allows us to grow our own educators amongst our high school students to fill a critical need in our district,” said Superintendent Dr. Debra Pace. “This outstanding opportunity is designed to keep talented students here in Osceola County, where they will further their education and have a successful career.”
Public schools in Osceola County saw 103 teacher positions go unfilled at the start of the school year, a number that dropped slightly to 86 in January.
Pictured in photo, left to right: Valencia President Dr. Sandy Shugart; Osceola Schools Superintendent Dr. Debra Pace; Valencia Campus President Dr. Kathleen Plinske; Kevin Miller, executive vice president, chief administrative officer and general counsel, CFE Federal Credit Union; Katie Thomason, vice president of development, CFE Federal Credit Union; and Osceola School Board Chair Kelvin Soto.