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School of Education

Developing the Teachers of the Future

The advancement of societies and communities is built on quality education—and particularly the education of children. WGU's School of Education believes in P–12 teachers and the impact they make. Our curriculum and faculty model are designed to train and inspire educators to achieve success in the classroom, in administration, and as leaders of learning in their communities. Our programs are dedicated to helping current and aspiring teachers pursue their own education in a way that works for their busy lives—allowing them to improve the lives of students in the process.

"The School of Education is a champion of next-generation teaching, learning, and leading—a home for rising and striving teachers, learners, and leaders who want to advance their pathways to opportunity and their ability to make a difference."

—Stacey Ludwig Johnson
Senior Vice President and Executive Dean, School of Education


Educator Well-Being:
From Principles to Practice Podcast

This podcast is brought to you by Utah First Lady Abby Cox and Western Governors University Senior Vice President and Executive Dean of the School of Education Dr. Stacey Ludwig Johnson, facilitated by Marty Carpenter of Northbound Strategy. This limited series focuses on supporting teachers nationwide by providing strategies and resources to help educators thrive. 

This podcast is designed as a discussion forum with topics important to classroom teachers as well as school district leaders and other community members who have a vested interest in the well-being of our nation’s educators. Hosts and guests will share practical advice, tips, and tools to support teachers and help them thrive. Also included in each episode are reflective questions to help expand educator expertise.

Recent Highlights

  • Celebrated the 20th anniversary of “from idea to impact" in 2021 and reflected on how WGU’s School of Education has grown to become the largest school of education in the nation, with more than 67,000 alumni across the U.S. and more than 37,000 active students.
  • Helped mitigate national teacher shortages due to the pandemic by serving as a vital pipeline in providing talented next-generation teachers and leaders in communities. The School of Education graduated more than 12,000 education students in 2022–while remaining steadfast in delivering high-quality academic programs and student-centered mentoring support services. 
  • Continued “flexing in the field” by maintaining more than 2,500 partnerships with school districts across the country to ensure that thousands of education students and demonstration teachers have access to local, high-quality, on-ground research; capstone, clinical, and student teaching experiences; and initial licensure degree programs which prepare students for licensure in all 50 states.

Collaborating to Develop the Future of Education

As one of the leading sources of teachers at both bachelor's and master's levels, WGU works with state and local school boards, departments of education, and school districts to help meet teacher needs, as well as develop education practices that improve learning. By partnering with
P–12 educators at all levels, WGU is not only a leader in child education but a trusted voice in education and a strong supporter of learning development.


WGU Executive Staff

Stacey Ludwig Johnson
Senior Vice President and Executive Dean of the School of Education
Ph.D., University of Colorado

Education Program Council

Jennifer Carinci
Program Director, STEM Education Research
American Association for the Advancement of Science

John Conyers
Conyers & Associates

Lynn Gangone
President & CEO

Cassandra Herring
President & CEO
Branch Alliance for Educator Diversity

Richard Lesh
Emeritus Rudy Distinguished Professor of Learning & Cognitive Sciences
Indiana University

Gary Natriello
Ruth L. Gottesman Prof. in Educ. Research
Columbia University

Wil Del Pilar
Vice President for Higher Education
The Education Trust

George Ann Rice
Planning Team Member
Troops to Education

Darlene Robles
Professor of Clinical Education
University of Southern California Rossier School of Education 

Phil Rogers
Executive Director & CEO

Michelle Weise 
SVP, Workforce Strategies
Strada Education Network

P-12 Advisory Council

Lyle Ailshie
Former Education Chief
Tennessee Department of Education

Michael Dunn

Jim Gay
OLAC Project

Jeanette Jenkins
Secondary Mentoring
Davis School District

John Pruette
Executive Director

Chris Templeton
Willard School District

Creating Flexibility for Teachers

Aspiring and current teachers come from all kinds of backgrounds. Our goal is to meet our students where they are, then provide them with the education they need to get where they want to be. Our curriculum is based on competencies, which provides flexibility for WGU students to move quickly through material they already know and spend extra time where they need it. And since WGU is online, students can access their course material whenever and wherever they want.

Funded Projects

The WGU School of Education has been awarded a grant by Lilly Endowment, Inc., one of the largest private philanthropic foundations in the U.S., to help expand and enhance the use of evidence-based instructional methods in Indiana, and in WGU’s teacher preparation programs by aligning with the Science of Reading. 

With this grant, WGU will revise our current initial licensure preparation courses in literacy and reading instruction to align with Science of Reading principles and evidence-based research and improve literacy instruction within Indiana as well as other states we serve.

Seven key activities comprise the work of this grant:

  1. Conduct a needs assessment, evaluating the current elementary education preparation programs to determine opportunities for redesign, using Science of Reading (SoR) evidence-based strategies.

  2. Attend national and state literacy conferences to observe and engage with best practices in SoR methods.

  3. Develop SoR subject matter experts among the WGU faculty.

  4. Conduct a Science of Reading Colloquium for the WGU Teachers College faculty.

  5. Explore SoR Activities for field-based and clinical experiences including the potential to leverage simulations and artificial intelligence. 

  6. Conduct an SoR study of WGU Elementary Education Preparation program graduates living in Indiana with survey and focus group analysis.

  7. Explore tracking of the SoR efficacy of the Elementary Education Preparation Program on candidate performance and Pre K-12 student reading achievement.

With 25 years of experience training and placing teachers in classrooms across all 50 states, the WGU Teachers College has built strong relationships on ground with more than 2,600 school district partners. Recently, work with partners and governmental agencies in Iowa has resulted in a $12.8 million dollar grant-funded opportunity for districts partnering with WGU to address the teacher shortage in the Hawkeye State.

Key districts partnering with WGU have been approved with grant money coming from the state’s allocation of the federal Elementary and Secondary Emergency Relief Fund (ESSER) and the American Rescue Plan Act funds which combine to provide the $12.8 million in grant funding for the project.

WGU Teachers College has received funding from the Trellis Foundation to support the development of a virtual Center for Healthy Learning. This work will build a community of practice - a center of gravity – for pulling our energy together around the needs of students and educators as it relates to five primary critical areas for student academic, professional, and personal success in access institutions across P-20.

These five areas include (1) social-emotional learning, (2) diversity, equity, and inclusion, (3) character education, (4) mental health, and (5) basic needs. Each of these areas significantly interacts with the others and are core elements of healthy learning environments. While we feel strongly that this is a solid frame for this work, we are open to reframing this initial conceptualization after our continuing conversations. 

The Center for Healthy Learning will strive to catalyze research, reflection, policy, and practice in these five areas to help ensure that more students in access institutions can flourish in their educations, and in their lives.  Through the work of the center, we hope to help: (1) make access learning environments more attractive to and inspiring for increasingly diverse students; (2) improve student success rates; and (3) close attainment gaps.

WGU Teachers College is an eligible participant in the Federal Work Study Experimental Site Initiative Program (July 1, 2021- June 30, 2022). The Federal Work-Study (FWS) goal is to leverage funds to support the creation or expansion of education-related jobs, paid internships, student teaching and work-to-learn opportunities. According to the U.S. Department of Education, “The FWS Experimental Sites have incentivized student work opportunities that provide not only a paycheck, but meaningful skills training that aligns with students’ future career goals.”

The funding for this project may provide financial assistance to students in initial licensure programs, with two pathways to choose from. The first opportunity is for working paraprofessionals within the school district who are also enrolled in a WGU Teachers College licensure program. Under this program, WGU can reimburse the district for up to 75% of the qualified paraprofessional’s earned student wages. The remaining 25% is the non-federal share which must be paid by the district. This program has eligibility in all 50 states. Personnel at WGU Teachers College will work directly with the district to arrange for the necessary agreements and to confirm federal eligibility. Students in this program must meet federal requirements including financial need, U.S. citizenship or eligible non-citizenship, a completed FAFSA form and is making satisfactory academic progress and other basic federal student aid eligibility criteria.

An additional Federal Work Study program allows WGU to provide funding to the district for eligible students completing their 12–16-week student teaching in those states where this program is allowed by law (CO, ID, IL, MI, MO, NE, NJ, NV, OK, UT, and WA). To learn more about this program, please complete the inquiry form. 

WGU Teachers College trains and places thousands of teaching candidates in student teaching assignments across the United States every year. The student teaching assignments generally last three months and are full time unpaid jobs for those students, presenting financial hardship for many.  In fiscal year 2021 (July 2020-June 2021), WGU awarded $700,000 in scholarships to students during student teaching, but we wanted to do more in fiscal year 2022. The Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) awarded WGU a total of $59,000,000 to support students across the university. WGU Teachers College received $10,000,000 of that HEERF funding to distribute to eligible students who demonstrated exceptional financial need to complete student teaching. More than 3,000 students received $3,000, one-time grants each, to help fund basic living, housing, school and travel expenses during student teaching so that they could focus on the work at hand and continue on their pathway to become the next generation of difference makers in education.


Selina Briley

Meet WGU Teachers College graduate, Selina, who was inspired by her colleages to go back to school and earn her master's degree.