When a person commits to serve in the US Military, they know the work they do will be meaningful and important. They know it will involve working with others, tackling challenges, and helping shape cultures and communities. In those ways, it’s like teaching, and many service members and veterans move into classrooms after leaving the armed forces.
As a program specialist for Troops to Teachers, Lauren Finnegan helps many of those individuals become educators in cities and towns across Washington.
Specifically, she identifies appropriate educational pathways, provides counseling, and ensures participants understand the necessary steps to secure jobs as teachers. Lauren demonstrates unflinching dedication to helping others pursue and achieve their educational goals.
For those reasons, WGU Washington recently inducted Lauren into the university’s Sage Society. Like a Hall of Fame, the Sage Society honors women and men committed to high-quality education and the pursuit of learning opportunities for others.
“Quite simply, Lauren is superb in all aspects of her job,” said Rear Admiral (Ret.) Doug Asbjornsen, coordinator of the Washington chapter of Troops to Teachers. “Her efforts have been instrumental in the successful growth of our program, both in reputation and in helping provide quality teachers for K-12 education. Lauren is exceptionally well-deserving of this award.”
“As an experienced educator and member of the military community, Lauren has a valuable perspective and insight to assist prospective teachers to earn the credentials they need,” said Constance Kronlund, strategic partnerships manager at WGU Washington. “With a kind, professional demeanor, she helps shine a light on the path to rewarding careers as teachers.”
Lauren began working for Troops to Teachers in 2017. Since it launched over 25 years ago, Troops to Teachers has helped more than 20,000 veterans nationally transition into new careers as K-12 teachers in public, charter and Bureau of Indian Affairs schools. The program provides counseling and referral services for participants to meet education and licensing requirements – and subsequently earn employment as teachers. Troops to Teachers is funded by the Department of Defense and, in Washington, is operated in partnership with the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction.