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Tulsa Teacher Corps expands to address rising number of emergency certifications

Teacher corps grows with emergency certifications
Posted at 4:19 PM, May 15, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-15 19:40:30-04

TULSA, Okla. — Greg Bilbruck was an army infantry drill sergeant, and then a pastor. Now he's a 5th grade teacher at Gilcrease Elementary after going through Tulsa's first Teacher Corps last summer.

"If I were going for the dollars I wouldn't be a teacher. But I wanted to do something that not only paid the bills but changed lives," Bilbruck said.

As the school year ends, the program will soon welcome new educators. Alumni recommend embracing the uncertainty ahead.

"It's going to suck. It's going to hurt. But embrace the pain. You're going to feel like it's too much coming at you at once. You're going to think "there's no way I can do this." But know that you can," Bilbruck said.

Governor Kevin Stitt signed Senate Bill 217 this week. The new law offers funding to expand the corps through independent certification over the next few years.

"As we look to be a top 10 state and as our governor has so eloquently articulated in his vision for that state, we've got to be innovative in our solutions," TPS director of talent acquisition Quintin Liggins said.

Critics worry emergency-certified teachers don't have adequate qualifications or experience. TPS staff tell 2 Works for You it's a way to address the 25 percent drop in educators over the last five years.

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