State Launches Program To Help Fund Educator Training

The Public Education Department is offering $1 million in competitive grants to higher education institutions to attract and train new K-12 public school teachers in New Mexico.

Five teacher preparation programs applied by Monday’s deadline: University of New Mexico, Northern New Mexico College, San Juan College, New Mexico Highlands University and New Mexico State University. Those applications are being reviewed and awards will be announced by June 30.

Colleges and universities receiving the grants will offer students stipends of at least $20,000 per year for participating in the Teacher Residency Program. 

“New Mexico needs well trained, professional educators, and this program will help make it affordable for many highly qualified people to get that training and serve in some of our neediest classrooms,” Public Education Sec. Ryan Stewart said. “This is a win-win for public education in New Mexico.”

Before Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham took office, New Mexico had about 740 unfilled teaching positions. Since then, the state’s three education departments have provided funding to support educators and increase the recruitment and retention of bilingual and multicultural teachers, and the number of unfilled positions has dropped to about 570.  

“Many of our higher education institutions in New Mexico originated with the mission to prepare educators and serve the diverse communities of our state,” Higher Education Sec. Stephanie Rodriguez said. “Our agency and partners are renewing our commitment to this legacy by expanding the educator pipeline through financial aid programs and increasing recruitment efforts in underrepresented communities.” 

The grants will go directly to the higher education institutions, which will use the funding to design, promote and support residency programs to ensure educator diversity and fill high-need teaching positions in the state.