Shelley Gatti,
Mark Brown / University of St. Thomas

In the News: Training New Elementary, Special Education Teachers

Shelley Neilsen Gatti, special education professor at the University of St. Thomas School of Education, recently was interviewed by KSTP-TV about a $6.8 million SEED grant that will be used to support students pursuing teaching degrees.

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From the story:

The University of St. Thomas plans to recruit and train hundreds of new elementary and special education teachers over the next few years with the help of new federal funding.

“There has always been a shortage in special education,” said Dr. Shelley Neilsen Gatti, who worked as a special education teacher for many years and is now an associate professor of special education at the University of St. Thomas. ...

“One of the things we’ve tried to do is look at, what are the barriers that are impacting individuals to become teachers?” Neilsen Gatti said. “What we know is there are lots of individuals who are working in these school districts, not as licensed staff but working as teaching assistants or in other roles, and we want to provide opportunities for those individuals to become licensed teachers because they’ve already shown a commitment to their communities.”

Gatti says some of those aspiring teachers face financial hardships in pursuing a teaching degree.

St. Thomas has now received a $6.8 million federal SEED (Supporting Effective Educator Development) grant to help expand access to education.