Leap to Teach Expo meets a need, conveniently
By Theresa Smith
GCU News Bureau
Convenience was the key when dozens of recruiters and administrators presented opportunities to College of Education (COE) students at the Lopes Leap to Teach & Lead Career Expo and Networking Event.
Armed with resumes and dressed in business attire, Lopes launching their teaching careers or securing student teaching placements merely walked across the Grand Canyon University campus to the Promenade to meet with assistant principals, principals and human resources personnel from private schools, public schools and public school districts, including charter schools. The event was organized by COE, Career IMPACT Center and Strategic Educational Alliances.
“Lopes Leap to Teach is a win-win for both our students and the school districts,’’ said Dr. Kimberly LaPrade, Dean of the COE. “Our students benefit not only by the convenience of having so many schools on campus, but students are able to see the different types of schools and districts, too. Students can explore the school that best fits their career goals. And the districts have the benefit of highlighting their schools and communities to our students while accepting their resumes for job openings and in many cases interviewing them for student-teaching placements or jobs.’’
While employers attempted to lure potential employees with cookies, water bottles, pens and notepads, the main attraction was opportunity. Job seekers at Chris Ecton’s table not only were introduced to Glenview College Preparatory High School, where Ecton is the principal, they were informed that he recruits for 27 other schools via his association with The Leona Group. Consequently, if Glenview lacks a specific opening matching a candidate’s expertise in content area and grade level, another school in The Leona Group, such as Apache Trail High School or El Dorado High School, might fit the bill.
Ecton enjoys visiting campus and meeting potential GCU hires.
“We love coming over here,’’ he said. “I have been involved in the GCU meetings and Lopes Leap to Teach for years. We’ve hired three teachers, and they are among the best that we have. And we love the student teachers from GCU.’’
Among the characteristics that are similar among GCU-trained teachers, Ecton said, “They are prepared. They come into the classroom needing minimal training and minimal supervision. And they are very comfortable; they create great relationships with the kids.’’
Jason Hinds, a GCU student who is scheduled to complete a master’s degree in special education in August, was among the job seekers conversing with Ecton and sharing contact information. He spoke to approximately 14 other potential employers.
Since Hinds chose special education, a field that is in demand, and is seeking career placement in Arizona, a state with a teacher shortage, he is confident of gaining full-time employment upon completion of his internship. Ideally, he would like to work at a charter school in Gilbert.
“It was really helpful to have connections right here on campus for us,’’ Hinds said. “It is an advantage to have all those school administrators come to us.’’
Because of her busy life, the convenience of the expo was especially helpful for Morgan Van Eps. The senior from Denver squeezed her time at the event between a shift at her job, the aptly named Busy Bee Babysitting, and attending a breakout session of Educators Rising Arizona.
“I was being picky — I know the districts I want to look into,’’ Van Eps said. “Immediately, I went up to the Higley Unified School District because I am engaged and we plan to live in the Chandler-Gilbert area. They were super welcoming. They were so easy to talk to. They asked me to tell them about myself, and they asked me what I am passionate about.’’
Van Eps also talked to representatives from the Washington Elementary School District, near GCU’s campus.
By gaining certification in elementary education, which will permit her to teach in kindergarten through eighth grade, and special education, spanning K-12, Van Eps has expanded her options. She is taking four education classes, each requiring 10 to 15 hours of practicum experience (teaching lessons in classrooms). In January, she begins student teaching at ACCEL in Tempe.
It is a whirlwind time for the senior with graduation, her wedding and the beginning of her career lying ahead. The Lopes Leap to Teach & Lead Career Expo and Networking Event proved to be a timesaver.
“There were so many people to meet and talk to,’’ she said. “It was definitely helpful for me and a lot of people.’’
Contact Theresa Smith at (602) 639-7457 or [email protected].