Question and answer session
Amanda Fields-Johnson, Killeen Independent School District human resources, responds to a question during an information session delivered to transitioning troops and family members about the Service to Teachers program at Fort Hood, Texas, Feb. 28. (Photo Credit: Brandy Cruz, Fort Hood Public Affairs) VIEW ORIGINAL

FORT HOOD, Texas - In partnership with the Transition Assistance Program and Employment Readiness Branch here, Killeen Independent School District hosted an information session regarding its new Service to Teachers program at the Oveta Culp Hobby Soldier and Family Readiness Center Feb. 28.

Killeen ISD’s partnership with Fort Hood benefits both the school district and the installation. Service members and spouses who are wanting to make a transition into a teaching career field have the option of obtaining an alternate teaching certification in the state of Texas.

Programs can be as short as six to eight weeks, and will provide a full certification to teach in the state of Texas. Certification courses approved by the Texas Education Agency can found at https://tea.texas.gov/texas-educators/certification.

“Certification programs vary in terms of cost, the amount of time it takes to move through the program and how quickly you can get that statement of eligibility,” explained Amy Ybarra, Killeen ISD’s coordinator for recruiting and retention. “We really encourage you to take a look at which program will suit your needs.

Right now, if a service member or military spouse chooses to complete the certification, the school board will reimburse them up to $5,000 if they agree to a three year commitment to teach at Killeen ISD.”

Minimum requirements include a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university, completion of an educator preparation program or alternative certification program, pass certification exams, submit a state application to teach, and then complete fingerprinting for a background check.

Recruiting pitch
Amy Ybarra, recruiting and retention coordinator for the Killeen Independent School District, discusses the Service to Teachers program with transitioning troops and their families at Fort Hood, Texas, Feb. 28. (Photo Credit: Brandy Cruz, Fort Hood Public Affairs) VIEW ORIGINAL

Future educators may still apply to be a teacher and could receive a letter of intent, contingent upon them meeting all the eligibility requirements. The Killeen ISD human resources representatives at the information session said now is a perfect time to start the process and be ready to step into a classroom in August.

Sgt. 1st Class Damon Harris said he found the information session very helpful.

“With the Troops to Teacher going away, a lot of people felt like there was going to be a disconnect,” Harris said. “But this bridges that gap to offer the Soldiers here at Fort Hood certifications, as well as jobs.”

The helicopter mechanic with 166th Aviation Brigade, First Army – Division West, said he wants to teach at the elementary level, but also be able to coach at the secondary level.

“I really want to provide mentorship and a positive male figure for that age group,” he said about teaching. “I’ll be happy to help inspire the youth.”

Service members and spouses in attendance asked a variety of questions, which could be best answered by the alternative certification programs. There will be representatives from those programs attending the Killeen ISD Job Fair, Saturday, at Harker Height High School. Killeen ISD is hiring for teachers, substitutes, aides and other positions. The job fair will be held from 8:30 a.m. to noon.