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EIU Media Relations

Golden Apple, Eastern Illinois University, Regional Office of Education #39 partner to address Illinois’ teacher shortage


New Accelerators Program to launch in 2020/21 school year

(Charleston, Illinois) — Golden Apple, Eastern Illinois University, and the Regional Office of Education #39 have announced an innovative partnership that will directly address the current and looming teacher education shortage across Illinois. Eastern Illinois University (EIU) and the Regional Office of Education #39 (ROE 39) will be two of Golden Apple’s primary partners in the program’s inaugural year.

EIU was selected as a Golden Apple partner for its longstanding achievements in teacher education, including its proficiencies in developing future teachers at middle school and high school levels in math, science, English, social science, world languages, and various career and technical education areas. Those competencies come from EIU’s rich history of preparing the state’s future teachers.

Founded in 1895 as the Eastern Illinois Normal School, EIU continues to serve the broad educational needs of its predominantly rural, east central region of the state and its distinct communities. In addition to being a top provider of certified public school teachers in Illinois, EIU’s working alumni also demonstrate enhanced professional retention rates, with more than 80 percent of teachers from EIU remaining in the profession after five years. That commitment to education has helped make EIU a benchmark institution for future Illinois educators.

As an Accelerators Program partner, EIU will support Golden Apple in its broader mission to inspire, develop and support teaching excellence in school districts throughout Illinois. With Illinois facing a shortage of 1,800 high-quality educators, and the country forecasted to face a shortage of 200,000 teachers nationally by 2025, the Golden Apple Accelerators Program creates a powerful conduit for teacher residency and licensure that will expedite the preparation of highly qualified teachers in areas of the state most in need, including areas in and around east central Illinois.

To kick off the new partnership, EIU hosted a press conference today at Old Main on the university’s Charleston, Illinois campus that included Golden Apple President Alan Mather, EIU President David Glassman; EIU Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Jay Gatrell; EIU Interim Vice President for Student Affairs Lynette Drake, EIU College of Education Dean Doug Bower; Associate Dean of the College of Education at EIU and program liaison Stephen Lucas, ROE 39’s Warrensburg-Latham CUSD #11 Superintendent Kristen Kendrick-Weikle; and several EIU Golden Apple Scholars. Illinois District 110 State Representative Chris Miller also attended the partnership announcement.

“This agreement fits perfectly with EIU’s dedication and commitment to teaching the state’s future teachers,” Glassman said. “Teaching and retaining qualified teachers is vital to the enduring and future success of K-12 education in Illinois. We are excited to exponentially enrich EIU’s critical role in that regard and to further enhance our relationships with our regional and district organizations.”

“Teacher shortages in Illinois demand our immediate attention,” said Alan Mather, President of Golden Apple. “Public school students throughout the state must continue to employ high-quality educators at every level—especially in our economically challenged communities, where schools are often underfunded and under-resourced. Golden Apple has and continues to be an advocate for these communities and schools, and we remain committed to overcoming these pressing challenges through intense and strategic collaboration with each of our partner organizations—including Eastern Illinois University and ROE 39—as they work energetically to unlock opportunities and enhance outcomes throughout the regions they serve.”

Dr. Stephen Lucas, associate dean of the College of Education at EIU and Accelerators Program facilitator, is extremely excited about what the agreement will mean for school districts in and around east central Illinois.

“As a public regional university, EIU serves a variety of rural and small-town communities across a large portion of the state,” Lucas said. “This program ensures EIU is doing its part to keep our best and brightest educators right here in our local communities, where their civic leadership and economic contributions will have positive, profound and enduring impacts.

More specifically, EIU and Golden Apple’s Accelerators program addresses teacher shortages in downstate Illinois by identifying and recruiting high-achieving university seniors with demonstrated mastery of key content areas into an accelerated teacher licensure program. Golden Apple’s Accelerators Program at EIU is a strategically designed 12- to 15-month program that allows students to complete state-approved pedagogical coursework and a year-long teacher residency, leading to teaching licensure entitlements in a designated content area. Highly qualified mentors from Golden Apple will oversee their preparation. 

The affiliation agreement makes Eastern Illinois University one of only three higher education partners for Golden Apple’s new Accelerators program. Golden Apple also is partnering with Blackburn College, and Regional Offices of Education 3, 13, 40 and 47. Partner districts will provide a valuable residency placement and place a mentor teacher from the district to accelerated learners; allow for appropriate release time to complete university coursework; and partner to hire program participants and continue to enhance their professional development in the two years following their residencies. 

The program is scheduled to start in Summer 2020. Golden Apple offers further details about the program on its website,, which shares that the organization will recruit program participants who are:

  • College seniors and career changers with bachelor’s degrees not in teaching but with backgrounds that will help them to teach in high-need areas, such as special education and STEM.
  • Committed to four years of teaching in southern, central, or western Illinois school districts.

Program participants also can receive:

  • A $30,000 stipend to apply towards coursework or housing as they pursue their teaching license
  • Teaching licensure within 15 months
  • A one-year residency and training program in a targeted partner school district in southern, central or western Illinois 
  • Coursework at a partner university
  • Job placement in a partner school district in southern, central or western Illinois
  • Instruction from award-winning educators
  • Mentoring support for the first two years of teaching

In addition to the Accelerators program, Golden Apple is addressing the teacher shortage through its established Scholars Program, which is a longer-term solution that uniquely prepares high school seniors and first- and second-year Illinois college students to thrive in the most challenging school environments where resilient teachers are needed the most. In response to the teacher shortage, this year marks the fifth consecutive year that Golden Apple has inducted more than 200 Scholars into the program. In total, more than 800 undergraduates are preparing to become teachers via the Golden Apple Scholars program filling vacancies in schools-of-need throughout Illinois.

About Golden Apple
Golden Apple’s mission is to inspire, develop and support teacher and school leader excellence in Illinois, especially in schools-of-need. Their leading-edge preparation delivers exceptional teachers who make an impact. They help students thrive in the classroom and in life. Since their beginning, they have recognized master educators annually; and, these master educators prepare the future generation of teachers.  Their vision is an Illinois in which every classroom has a great teacher and to realize this, they are committed to making a material difference in resolving the teacher shortage throughout Illinois. Visit for more information. 

For more information about EIU, or to learn more about its growing assortment of programs and services, visit the university’s website at, or call EIU’s public information office at (217) 581-7400.



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Media Relations
Josh Reinhart, Public Information Coordinator

2142 Old Main
Eastern Illinois University
600 Lincoln Ave.
Charleston, IL 61920
Fax: 217-581-8444

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