Georgia State University to help train and retain metro Atlanta teachers

The program covers most of the cost of a master’s degree
New Gwinnett County Public Schools teachers participate in their orientation in Duluth on Tuesday, July 11, 2023. (Katelyn Myrick/

Credit: Katelyn Myrick

Credit: Katelyn Myrick

New Gwinnett County Public Schools teachers participate in their orientation in Duluth on Tuesday, July 11, 2023. (Katelyn Myrick/

Paraprofessionals and teachers at four metro Atlanta school districts will have the opportunity to earn master’s degrees at Georgia State University without paying tuition or fees.

GSU last week announced a partnership with school systems in Atlanta, Gwinnett County, Newton County and Rockdale County to “help reduce the teacher shortage in Georgia,” according to a news release from the university’s College of Education and Human Development.

The Pathways to Teacher Credentialing Project allows provisionally licensed teachers and paraprofessionals with bachelor’s degrees to earn a Master of Arts in Teaching degree, preparing them to become certified teachers. Licensed and certified teachers can earn a Master of Education degree.

Participants in the program must make a commitment with their district to remain there for a certain number of years.

“Our partnership with Georgia State University is extremely important because it is creating growth opportunities in teaching for various audiences, which in turn supports retaining staff,” Cathy Harden, Gwinnett’s chief human resources officer, said in a news release.

Students and other pedestrians intermingle as they cross the crosswalk at the intersection of Piedmont Avenue and John Wesley Dobbs Avenue at Georgia State University's Atlanta campus on Monday, Oct. 30, 2023. (John Spink /

Credit: John Spink

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Credit: John Spink

The project is initially slated to last for three years and support 270 teachers, “who already work in these districts and who have demonstrated a commitment to a career in education,” GSU stated. “(The project) will reinforce the state’s teacher workforce and give Georgia students a quality education from well-prepared educators.”

Laura May, associate dean of the college of education and the pathways project director, said the program is designed to be accessible for a working paraprofessional or teacher. She said GSU is proud to support education within metro Atlanta, noting that 95% of teacher education alumni stay in the area.

The program is funded by GSU, each participating district, state and federal grants and the Goizueta Foundation. The funding will cover tuition and fees for participants. May said they will only have to pay for books.

She also said she’s hopeful to expand the project and work with more districts.

Educators interested in the program can contact their human resources staff for information about applying. The deadline to apply is March 5. Those selected for the program will begin coursework in May, Angela Turk, a spokeswoman in GSU’s College of Education and Human Development, said.