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Press Release

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

DOE Press Office
(850) 245-0413

Governor’s Press Office
(850) 488-5394

Governor Crist, Department of Education Promote Troops to Teachers Program

~Federal program helps Florida, U.S. military personnel transition to a career in teaching ~

TALLAHASSEE – Governor Charlie Crist today unveiled Florida’s newest effort to encourage America’s brave military servicemen and women to enlist as educators in the state’s neediest schools. Over the next nine months, more than 40 billboards throughout the state will display information about the Troops to Teachers program, a federally funded referral and placement assistance service that helps military personnel begin new careers as public school teachers.

“Veterans and members of our armed forces have a wealth of knowledge and experience that makes them ideal candidates to become educators in our schools,” said Governor Crist. “This valuable program provides them with an opportunity to continue to serve their country through the development of our most precious resource, our children.”

Under the program, qualified participants receive a stipend of up to $5,000 to pay for teacher certification requirements or a bonus of $10,000 if they become employed in a high needs school. Participants who accept the financial assistance must teach for a minimum of three years. The program is open to retirees, active-duty personnel leaving the service with six or more years of service, and Reserve/National Guard personnel with 10 or more years of credited service. Active-duty personnel can register if they are within one year of separation or retirement.

Joining Governor Crist at today’s announcement were Eric J. Smith, Commissioner of Education; retired Rear Admiral LeRoy Collins, Jr., Veterans’ Affairs Executive Director; Dr. Jeffrey Cropsey, Director Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support; and Charlotte Brand Audie, CEO and President of the Florida Outdoor Advertising Association.

“The nation’s military personnel are an untapped resource of teaching potential and are natural role models for our students,” said Commissioner Smith. “Their expertise in the subjects of math and science will better prepare our youth for today’s global economy, and their leadership abilities allow them to excel in the most challenging learning environments.”

“I salute Dr. Smith and the Florida Department of Education for helping to advocate for Florida’s veteran community,” said Rear Admiral Collins. “Experience shows that former military members make excellent public school teachers. This initiative will help highlight the opportunity for continued service for many of our nation’s veterans.”

The Troops to Teachers program was created in 1993 and is managed by the Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support (DANTES). Florida continues to be a leader in the Troops to Teachers program and is the second largest employer of Troops to Teachers participants, having employed 869 since the program started.

To learn more about the Troops to Teachers program, visit