As teacher shortage continues, USM expects growth in education programs

Pine Belt

HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WHLT) – There’s been a teacher shortage across the country, including one at the University of Southern Mississippi (USM).

On Wednesday, Governor Tate Reeves (R-Miss.) released a task force report that calls for Mississippi leaders to take action to address teacher shortages in the state while improving the state’s economic future.

Gabby Seibert is an aspiring teacher, who is currently a senior at USM. She is majoring in elementary education and special education. She plans on becoming a teacher next spring following graduation.

“I have absolutely always wanted to be a teacher. A lot of my teachers, when I was in elementary school ages, have really impacted me. I really want to mimic them, and I think my cousin played a big part. I want to be that person that she can come to that I can come to educate, but also educate any student that really needs someone to advocate for them,” she said.

Seibert said she wants to be an advocate and help change people’s lives.

“I think it’s important to be able to advocate for students, but to also know that you’re doing this because you want to make a difference in the community. You want to be able to help those future doctors, future presidents, future astronauts; making sure those students are taken care of and making sure you’re the one that’s making a difference in their lives,” she said.

At this time, USM has a 400 percent growth in both graduate education and undergraduate programs. USM leaders said they will see future growth in the coming years.

Dr. Noal Cochran, a professor at USM, said, “Our biggest changes is marketing the profession to young millennials, Gen Z students and then working with our current teachers to give them opportunities for advancement and solid base to backfill.”

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