Kirstin is a local 7th grade English language arts teacher. But being at the helm of a classroom almost didn’t happen for her. Learn more about her path to teaching and, what keeps her leading youth…
Brought to you by Nyemadi Dunbar, MN Comeback
Hobbies: Reading, baking, yoga, traveling, family stuff, and binge-watching shows on Netflix.
ND: What inspired you to advocate for a new teacher licensing system?
KR: It was personal. I was one of the many out-of-state teachers that were denied a full teaching license from the Board of Teaching. When I moved to Minnesota, I never imagined that I wouldn’t be able to obtain a teaching license because I had taught for 12 years, had a Master’s of Education, and had earned many teaching awards and grants. I asked what I thought was a simple question: “What do I need to do to get a teaching license?” But no one at the Board of Teaching or the Department of Education could answer it.
Instead, I, and most out-of-state teachers, were told to ask universities what we had to do to get licensed. But those universities had widely different requirements. In my case, one university told me I would have to student teach again and take 12 credit hours of “education pedagogy” classes. While a different university said I didn’t have to take any additional pedagogy classes. The old licensing system was confusing, without standards, and, in a word, broken. It actively kept qualified teachers like me from teaching in Minnesota.
ND: What does the new tiered licensure system mean to you?
KR: Never again will a qualified teacher have to overcome unnecessary obstacles just to teach. The new tiered licensure system provides a clear pathway for out-of-state teachers to obtain a Minnesota teaching license. It respects the experience of out-of-state teachers, and it provides an accessible framework that answers that simple question, “What do I need to do to get a teaching license?”
ND: What are the next steps in making sure the new teacher licensure system really works?
KR: It is vital that the new Professional Educator Licensing and Standards Board provides appropriate oversight and implementation of the new tiered licensing system, ensuring that the most-qualified teachers will be able to teach in Minnesota.
Read more in Kirstin’s fall 2018 interview in the St. Paul Pioneer Press.