Thirty UGA graduates have committed to teach in high-needs schools across the nation through the competitive Teach for America program. They will join 4,100 other recruits this year, tying UGA as the No. 14 contributor to Teach for America among large universities.
Teach for America, part of the AmeriCorps national services network, recruits and develops college graduates and professionals who make a two-year commitment to teach in high-needs rural and urban schools across the country. Only 15 percent of this year’s 44,000 applicants, whom had an average GPA of 3.4, were admitted to the program.
“UGA students who are hired at Teach for America tend to be strong organizers with a passion for helping children succeed in the classroom,” said Scott Williams, director of the UGA Career Center. “They represent future leaders in a myriad of professional career fields who continue to support and influence the quality of education in the classroom.”
UGA traditionally has been a top contributing school for the program. That trend comes in part from students’ commitment to service, which is embedded in the university’s curriculum, said Rahul Shrivastav, vice president for instruction. In 2014, more than 8,100 students participated in service-learning courses that built on their desire to give back to their communities.
“University of Georgia students are some of the most engaged students in the nation,” Shrivastav said. “They are passionate about making a real and lasting impact and helping others.”
Zack Kroll of Roswell enlisted in Teach for America after he graduated in 2011 with a bachelor’s degree in economics from the Terry College of Business.
“I really wanted to find something where I was making an impact by being positive and productive,” he said.
After being accepted into the corps, Kroll served from 2011 to 2013 at a rural school in the Mississippi Delta. Though challenging, Kroll said, it was an eye-opening experience for him, and it propelled him to come back to UGA to get his master’s degree from the College of Education. He completed his Master of Arts in Teaching this May.
“I really, really enjoyed connecting with people on a different level and teaching them something they didn’t know before,” he said. “I plan on working with young people for as long as I can, and a lot of that came from this experience.”
Kroll now teaches geometry at Centennial High School in Roswell and plans to eventually work in education administration.