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Partnership brings ASU teaching degrees to Pinal County

July 14, 2009

Residents of Pinal County who aspire to careers as special education and elementary education teachers now have a convenient path to a bachelor’s degree and Arizona certification, thanks to a cooperative program between Central Arizona College and Arizona State University.

The program enables students to turn their two-year associate’s degree from CAC into a Bachelor of Arts in Education degree and dual teacher certification in elementary and special education through ASU’s College of Teacher Education and Leadership (CTEL) without leaving Pinal County.

“CTEL classes are delivered online and via teleconference to CAC’s campuses and centers,” says Holly Aguila, Title V Grant director for CTEL. “Students are placed in Pinal County elementary and middle school classrooms for their field experience and student teaching. The hope is that the school districts in which students conduct their field work will hire them once they graduate, as there is a great need for highly qualified special education teachers in Pinal County.”

“This is a classic win-win situation,” says Jenni Gonzales, CAC’s co-director for Title V, who helped develop the partnership. “Both ASU and CAC bring expertise in teacher preparation to the program. At CAC we have the technical infrastructure to make interactive television classes available at all nine of our campuses and centers, and ASU provides a high-quality bachelor’s degree program that leads to teacher certification.

“The ultimate winners are the college students who can become certified teachers without facing a long commute, and the children in Pinal County schools who will benefit from the talented teachers this program produces.”

Aguila says the fact that the program leads to two teaching certificates makes it especially appealing. “Graduates meet the Arizona requirements to receive both elementary and special education certification, providing them greater flexibility in their career options,” she says.

Once students have completed an associate’s degree, they can complete the ASU portion of the program in two academic years. During the first three semesters they take online and videoconference classes while also doing field work in Pinal County classrooms under the guidance of experienced mentor teachers. The fourth and final semester is spent student teaching.

Evening teleconference classes are offered at various locations around the county as well as at CAC’s Signal Peak, Superstition Mountain and Aravaipa campuses.

Applications are now being accepted for students planning to enter the program in the Fall 2009 semester (with classes starting Aug. 24). Potential students can reach a program representative by calling (480) 727-1103 or emailing Additional information is available at

ASU’s College of Teacher Education and Leadership, through collaboration with educational and civic communities, prepares and inspires innovative educators to be leaders who apply evidence-based knowledge that positively impacts students, families, and the community. CTEL offers teacher preparation programs on all ASU campuses.