Arkansas Teacher Corps Welcomes New Staff

Brandon Lucius, from left, Donnalie Nelson and Laureina Toler
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Brandon Lucius, from left, Donnalie Nelson and Laureina Toler

The Arkansas Teacher Corps, a nontraditional teacher-preparation program at the University of Arkansas, has hired Brandon Lucius as its newest executive director.

Lucius has worked for the Arkansas Teacher Corps in a variety of roles since 2014. In his most recent post as director of teacher development, Lucius coordinated professional development for the program's 55 teaching fellows and directed the seven-week training institute for novice teachers. Prior to joining ATC, Lucius taught high school science in Helena-West Helena and high school mathematics in Osceola. He holds a bachelor's degree in economics from Washington University in St. Louis and a master's degree in educational leadership from Arkansas Tech University.

Gary Ritter, founder and outgoing faculty director of Arkansas Teacher Corps who led the hiring search committee, said he is excited to see Lucius take the helm.

"We are thrilled that Brandon Lucius will continue and expand his work with the Arkansas Teacher Corps," Ritter said. "He has done a great job developing and leading our Summer Institute and teacher development in past years. Brandon clearly has the background to lead ATC into its next phase; even more important, he is committed to the ATC mission of pursuing equity through improved education."

"I am so excited and humbled to continue working with an organization dedicated entirely to ensuring that all students in Arkansas have access to highly qualified teachers," Lucius said. "I look forward to building on the legacy left by Shelley Aschliman and Dr. Ritter as we work to increase teacher retention, strengthen staffing pipelines, and cultivate new community partnerships."

Although Ritter recently stepped away from ATC to join Saint Louis University as the dean of the School of Education, he will stay on as chair of the newly formed ATC advisory board. Aschliman resigned as executive director in July to join the Springdale School District as a high school English teacher.

ATC has also hired Laureina Toler and Donnalie Nelson to join Sarah Sutton, a 2014 ATC alumna, as teacher development managers tasked with supporting, training and evaluating the 55 teachers in schools across Arkansas. Toler and Nelson both served as Teach for America corps members in the Arkansas Delta: Toler taught English at Stuttgart Junior High School and history at KIPP Delta Collegiate High School, and Nelson taught English at Pine Bluff High School before joining Teach for America-Arkansas staff as a teacher coach.

Chris Collier, a 2014 ATC alumnus, will continue to serve as director of organizational development and Recruitment Director John Hall will still spearhead ATC's efforts to attract and retain high-quality applicants.

The Arkansas Teacher Corps is driven by its mission to "recruit, train and support exceptional, social justice-oriented individuals to serve as teachers for Arkansas students who need them the most." Applicants selected as ATC Fellows must pass all required educator licensure tests and participate in ongoing professional development and coaching throughout their Fellowship. They are paid a first-year teacher's salary by their school district and receive a $15,000 honorarium from ATC in recognition of their commitment to teaching.

Arkansas Teacher Corps is a partnership between the University of Arkansas, the Arkansas Department of Education, and 23 Arkansas school districts. Funding for the program has been made available through collaboration between the College of Education and Health Professions, the Walton Family Foundation, the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation, and individual donors through the Arkansas Teacher Corps Society.

ATC is accepting applications for the 2019 Fellowship; college seniors and degree holders of all ages and backgrounds are welcome to apply. Applications and additional information can be found on the program website.

Contacts

Heidi S. Wells, director of communications
College of Education and Health Professions
479-575-3138, heidisw@uark.edu

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