Press Release

The Educator Academy Launches of SPED Certification Track

The Educator Academy launches a Missouri teacher licensure track for Special Education to increase the number of diverse and highly effective educators for students with disabilities in Kansas City



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – The The Educator Academy program, a nonprofit dedicated to recruiting, preparing, and retaining diverse and highly effective teachers in Kansas City area schools, has launched a new Special Education certification program that aims to address the local Special Education teacher shortage. In preparation for the incoming class of Teacher Residents, The Educator Academy partnered with Dream Education Consulting, LLC to design the new curriculum. With the support of the Marion and Henry Bloch Family Foundation, The Educator Academy has secured $100K in multi-year funding to hire new staff, and to actively recruit professionals, recent college graduates, and graduating college seniors to join the program in Summer 2021.  

Together with Bellwether Education Partners, The Educator Academy conducted a landscape analysis in 2018 which found that only 3% of all teachers prepared in the Kansas City, Missouri Metro in 2017 were for Special Education classrooms. These findings reveal a drastic shortage of Special Education teachers for Kansas City’s students with disabilities. When faced with these shortages, the Learning Policy Institute reports principals often resort to filling special education vacancies with underprepared teachers. This could mean hiring a teacher certified in a field other than special education, an intern with just a few weeks of training, or—in the most extreme cases—a teacher on an emergency credential who has no training whatsoever. 

The impact of hiring underprepared teachers for Special Education classrooms is an inequitable learning experience for Kansas City’s students with disabilities. According to the Center for American Progress, the inequities are even more pronounced for students of color with disabilities, as records show that African American, Latino, and American Indian/Alaska Native students graduate from high school at a rate 10% lower than that of their white peers with disabilities.

Special Education certification is an expansion of The Educator Academy’s teacher preparation program. The organization has certified over 135 new teachers for Early Childhood, Elementary, and Middle School Math, Science, and Language Arts since the Residency launched in 2016.  


The Educator Academy works to increase and retain the number of diverse, high-quality educators in classrooms across Kansas City’s communities through a teacher residency model of training and development. Founded in 2016, The Educator Academy partners with public Kansas City area school districts and charter management organizations, which serve as training and full-time placement sites for new teachers. Today, The Educator Academy teacher residents and graduates are teaching in over 50 pre-K, elementary, middle, and high schools across 22 district and charter partners. The The Educator Academy program participants receive coaching, mentoring, and access to a master’s degree in urban education. The Educator Academy is a proud member of the AmeriCorps national service network. For more information, visit


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