Creating ‘The Best Online Teacher Certification Program Ever’
Dr. Janet Pilcher and Dr. Robin Largue founded an online teacher certification program which is a tough, tiring and tremendous task! It took vision and passion, knowledge and experience, determination and dedication, patience and persistence . . . and sheer nerve. Through their ‘TeacherReady Program’, thousands of students in the US and in over 95 other countries became certified and are teaching in our classrooms today.
Childhood Influences in Education
While growing up, Janet became interested in education as she watched her grandfather serve on the school board and her mother work in the school district. She showed early signs of her love for learning as she assembled stuffed animals around her room to play school with workbooks and flash cards bought with her allowance. Teaching was in her blood.
Upon earning an undergraduate degree in Business from Florida State University, Janet went to work for Vidalia Sweets Brand in Georgia, a company facing possible bankruptcy in need of help.
After 1 ½ years she made a tough decision to switch from business to education. Since math was identified as a critical need subject area, she enrolled in an alternative certification program to take math courses. Upon completion, she taught high school math and coached tennis for the next 4 years.
In pursuit of further education, Janet returned to school and earned a Ph.D. in ‘Measurement and Evaluation’ at Florida State University. This training prepared her to spend the next 20 years in higher education at the University of West Florida.
University Work in Education
Janet served as a Professor, Associate Dean and the Dean of the College of Professional Studies at the university. While there, she accomplished the following:
- Led the university to offer its first doctoral program
- Combined college departments to create and lead the ‘College of Professional Studies’
- Created an ‘educational entrepreneurial center’ to prepare great teachers for today’s classrooms
- Received 18 million dollars from grants and contracts to support education innovation and research
- Published numerous research articles, several books and online tools to help teachers and leaders
and last but not least,
- Co-created a graduate level and fully accredited online teacher certification program
Janet was running out of challenges at the university and desired new career goals and opportunities. When she met Quint Studer, the founder of ‘Studer Group’, a healthcare leadership coaching company, she realized that what could benefit healthcare could also benefit education. She decided to leave a full tenured professor position in education and return to business.
Janet founded ‘Studer Education’ and currently leads a team that serves multiple school districts in the US on leadership alignment and consistency. She coaches executive leaders in K12 and higher education to become high performing organizations. In this new role, Janet combines her experience from her training in both business and education. Thus far, she has accomplished the following:
- Grew business from 800 thousand to 7 million in 7 years
- Started a business/university partnership to continue to offer the TeacherReady Program
- Is a Managing Director of Huron, a global management consulting group offering services to healthcare, higher education, life sciences and commercial industries
Childhood Influences in Education
When Robin grew up, only a few career options such as education and nursing were available to women. Since Robin loved to read, she chose education. In high school, she greatly admired her American History teacher who knew how to motivate students. She recalls marching around the campus waving an American flag while studying the American Revolution. Also, her father was a history buff which influenced her decision to become a history teacher.
Robin earned both a Bachelor’s degree and a Master’s degree in Secondary Education (History) within a few years. Since she desired future career possibilities, she returned to college for 3 more years while teaching full-time to complete a Ph.D. in higher education.
Robin wrote her dissertation, ‘Retrenchment into Colleges of Education’, as a result of declining college student enrollment in education. There were significant teacher shortages at that time, due to factors such as limited job prestige, low salaries and new career options for women. This problem remains today.
K12 Work in Education
In her first teaching assignment, Robin taught high school composition, history and math for 3 years. At this time, she experienced the first signs of racial disturbances created by the K12 school desegregation effort. She remembers the many campus security officers who were hired to protect students and teachers.
For the next few years, Robin taught history and humanities at a new high school where she also assumed several leadership roles. She assisted in student discipline, student registration and scheduling and parental guidance and counseling. Given her experience in these administrative areas and her Ph.D. in higher education, she sought multiple administrative positions with no success. To her surprise and dismay, she was considered too young (mid-thirties) and, even though she held a Ph.D. in higher education, she was not certified specifically in K12 leadership/administration.
So she returned to school for the 4th time to take 8 more education courses. Finally, after 3 advanced degrees and 15 years of teaching experience, she became a high school assistant principal/interim principal for the next 4 years. In 1990, Robin became the 2nd female in the school district to be a principal and remained there for 9 years.
After classroom teaching and administrative experience, Robin served as the Director of Secondary Education for the school district in charge of all middle and high schools.
University Work in Education
When a new school superintendent was elected who disagreed with Robin’s educational philosophy, she accepted a position at The University of West Florida. She was determined to do what she thought was right in education. Here she served as the ‘Coordinator of the Education Leadership Department’ where she worked with Dr. Janet Pilcher. While there, Robin accomplished the following:
- Co-designed the curriculum for the online Teacher Certification Program
- Assisted in getting state approval and national accreditation for the TeacherReady Program
- Provided professional development to K12 school leaders and teachers
- Partnered with the School of Business to create an online Master’s of Administration Program
When Janet decided to leave the university and founded ‘Studer Education’, Robin joined her and entered the business world for the first time in her professional career. Thus far, Robin has accomplished the following:
- Serves as a leader coach to assist school district partners throughout the US to become high performing organizations
- Co-authored the book ‘How to Lead Teachers to Become Great’ in 2009
- Works in all aspects of the TeacherReady Program
JANET AND ROBIN
Thus far, Janet and Robin agree they’ve enjoyed everything they’ve done and every place they’ve been throughout their careers. I asked them both one final question . . .
“What job has been the most rewarding for you?”
“I enjoyed working with my doctoral students. Even though I’ve worked in many different places and with many different people, I’m a teacher first and a coach second.”
“I liked being a high school principal because I was teaching my teachers which forced me to grow.”
Why is the TeacherReady Program ‘THE BEST ONLINE TEACHER CERTIFICATION PROGRAM EVER’?
- Engaging and practical curriculum
- Continuous enrollment
- Competency-based lessons
- Affordable tuition payable in monthly installments
- Completion within 7-9 months with a ‘fast track’ possibility
- Outstanding customer service with an assigned student advisor
- Military scholarships
- 100% online teacher certification program which can be done anytime and anywhere
- User-friendly platform
- 5 year Florida Professional Teaching Certificate
- Options for non-citizens
- National accredited program in operation for over 13 years, and most important of all . . .
CREATORS WHO KNEW WHAT THEY WERE DOING AND HOW TO DO IT!
Submitted By: Gayle Furlow
January 14, 2019