Transition to Teaching Educator Honored by Governor

August 19, 2012

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – A Transition to Teaching educator is already getting high marks from the Governor of West Virginia. Bill France, a Logan County educator who is earning his certification through the West Virginia Department of Education’s (WVDE) Transition to Teaching program, has been named a Distinguished West Virginian ... the highest honor given by the governor. 

Bill France, an English and language arts teacher at Logan County High School, received the award based on his contributions to his community. He also teaches theater and broadcasting. France entered the classroom through the Transition to Teaching program after 20 years as a broadcaster.

“Bill is an eager go-getter,” said his Transition to Teaching mentor Andréa Santos. “He is tremendously talented and creative, and has been a blessing to so many aspects of Logan High School and to his students. During a recent visit to his classroom, he used music as students entered the room to engage them in the science fiction genre.”

The Transition to Teaching program is an alternative certification project designed to attract new teachers in high need areas including math, science, English, foreign language and special education in 26 designated high needs counties. The program is a collaborative effort between the WVDE and Marshall and West Virginia universities. Participants must have a bachelor’s degree, must pass the Praxis I exam and commit to teach for three years. About 100 teachers are now teaching through the program.

“Educators and policymakers are continually searching for new ways to recruit and retain excellent public school teachers,” said state Superintendent of Schools Jorea Marple. “West Virginia has many highly experienced teachers, who will be difficult to replace as more and more of them retire. Alternative teacher certification is one way to address the issue.”

During the first year, Transition to Teaching participants complete 18 hours of online graduate work in pedagogy while performing the day-to-day duties of a classroom teacher. In the second year, participants complete content specific and instructional strategy enhancing courses through WVDE's e-Learning classes. Year three, participants complete two more e-Learning classes -- one to introduce them to the process of National Board Certification; the other to give them real-world, classroom application of completing a portfolio entry for National Board Certification. Each participant also is assigned to an academic coach.

In the Logan community, France also produces and directs annual outdoor dramas at the Liz Spurlock Amphitheatre in Chief Logan State Park in Logan. He also is active with the Logan Hills Festival and the Freedom Festival. 

For more information, contact the Office of Professional Preparation at 304-558-7010, or the Office of Communication at 304-558-2699.

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