Alice Watson ’90 has a long legacy in teaching and deep roots in Campbell County.
She was a student at Campbell County’s Rustburg High School when she decided to attend University of Lynchburg. After teaching music in another school division for about 16 years, she finally returned to her home county a decade ago.
Now a music teacher at Leesville Road Elementary School, she has developed a reputation as a master teacher. She recently won the McGlothlin Award for Teaching Excellence, a regional prize that includes $25,000, including $10,000 earmarked for international travel that will enhance the teacher’s lessons.
Alice sees her career as evidence that a person can do well while staying close to a place they love. “Bloom where you are planted,” she said. “It is fantastic to be able to give back to your community.”
A new initiative by University of Lynchburg provides a pathway for more people in Central Virginia to follow a similar path. The Grow Your Own Teachers program is a partnership with five nearby school divisions and Central Virginia Community College.
School divisions will nominate some of their own students to participate in the program. The students will spend two years at CVCC, although they will come to LC for select education courses during those years. Then they will complete their degrees and teaching licensure requirements at LC. The program provides financial aid as well as an education plan that will help ensure students will graduate and complete all teaching licensure requirements within four years.
Participating students will complete all their student teaching and practicum experiences in the school divisions they come from. After college, participating students will be encouraged to return to those divisions to teach.
The program emphasizes teachers in STEM fields and other areas where school divisions may identify a need.
“This initiative better equips Campbell County to meet this need by developing our own pipeline of talented Campbell County students who will ultimately return to the school division to teach in these areas,” said Robert Arnold, assistant superintendent for Campbell County Schools. “This initiative also connects directly to the Campbell County school division mission, which is to provide each student with the opportunity to be successful in the careers he or she ultimately chooses.”
The College and the Grow Your Own program partners announced the initiative on May 13. See the official press release for further details on the program and requirements, or contact the School of Education, Leadership Studies, and Counseling for questions.