Dozens get their alternative certificates for teaching in Guilford County

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Thirty-three men and women received their alternative certificates for teaching in Guilford County Thursday afternoon. 

They spent the last fifteen months in the GCS Alternative Certification Track program. They were PhD students or working in professional jobs not necesarily related to teaching. While most didn't go to school specifically for education, many have always had the itch to teach. 

Brittany Smith was a DNA lab technician and later, a stay-at-home mom. She decided teaching would be a great opportunity to share her career experience. 

"I do feel like I've got an edge. We do have the real-world experience and we are able to bring that into the classroom. With science I can show my students, for instance, labs because I've done them before." 

Executive Director of Talent Development for GCS, Amy Holcombe, said the certification program at the local level is one-of-a-kind in North Carolina. "We have a locally customized teacher preparation program so instead of just learning about literacy, they learn about the way we teach literacy in Guilford County Schools." The training is catered to what works for local students, she explained, making their teachers very successful. 

While taking classes for the certificate, the students are also working their first year as teachers in GCS classrooms. They're learning and working simultaneously, Holcombe said. 

Their lack of teaching experience may be a challenge at first, but 12 ACT teachers were named "Rookie of the Year" in their schools last school year. 

Smith pointed out, "We know teachers don't make the money so there's gotta be some other reason they're in it. I'm in it for the kids!"

Desiree Acevdo's young daughter and family were at the graduation to cheer her on. After twenty years as a nurse, mostly in operating rooms, she's now teaching health sciences at Dudley High. 

"Financially it's different," she explained. "But it's well worth it because even though your salary is not what you're used to make before, there's more time for you to spend [at home], less time on baby sitters, that stuff. It kinda equals out at the end." 

Both women are taking on hard-to-fill STEM positions, Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. 

ACT has graduated 176 teachers to date.  

For more information on this lateral-entry program, visit


  • Bo Diddley

    Great, we’ve gone from incompetent teachers to fast-tracked teachers with no experience…..Texas!!!!

  • Really?

    4 year bachelor’s degree, and in some cases 2 years masters, 3 year JD or 5 year PhD PLUS 15 month teaching program. How is this fast-tracked?

    • sinner 3

      The training is catered to what works for local students !! HUUUM !!! So….this…….means they…….can talk …..In ..G _HOOD lingo……thug….smack….?

  • Doc Bennett

    But WHY?!?
    All I have read would indicate NC can not attract teachers. Teachers are leaving the state by the bus load. Going to Texas and every other state that pays more than NC. Could all the hype on teachers pay be just that….hype?
    Could there still be people out there willing to teach kids because they have had a calling to a professional, needed and respected task? Could it be they don’t care about summers off and short work days, only doing their part for a better community?
    AND they have experience in the REAL world! Not just a teaching certificate from some 4 year and no experience in the world of production or termination.
    What’s next!?! Teachers that don’t touch our kids, complain about pay or take days off to go to Raleigh to protest about their “untouchable (can fire me)” out dated policy fights.

    The Horror

  • Amy Zagata

    Doc Bennett, why do you come across as so irrational? These people in the article are people that already live in NC and are looking to give teaching a try. Its very true there is a teacher shortage in NC and you can see it on the US department of education website. There are tons of statistics supporting that NC teachers are near the lowest paid in the country. Teachers do NOT have summers off, they are only 10month employees, and what teacher has a short work day? Dare I ask what type of work you do? What do you mean by “untouchable (can fire me)” policy fights? Do you mean tenure? Teachers can and do get fired with tenure, its simply means they need a good reason to fire a teacher. Other than firing teachers after 25yrs of service just to save money so they can hire a green horn just out of college for 40% less pay.

Comments are closed.