May 22, 2024

Teacher Apprenticeship Pathway celebrates first graduate

Kandy Flowers, a paraprofessional at Wessington Springs, is the first graduate of South Dakota’s Teacher Apprenticeship Pathway.

Designed as a way to address the teacher shortage in South Dakota and to help experienced paraprofessionals gain the education and credentials necessary to become certified teachers while continuing to work in their home districts, the Teacher Apprenticeship Pathway began as a pilot program in 2023 with 90 teacher-apprentices. In 2024, the South Dakota Legislature authorized funding for a second cohort.

Flowers has signed a contract with Wessington Springs School District to be their preschool and junior kindergarten teacher beginning in Fall 2024. Dr. Michael Ormsmith, superintendent of Wessington Springs, praised Flowers’ dedication and tenacity at a celebration honoring Flowers’ achievement at the State Capitol in Pierre. “She takes her job seriously, and works to know each student,” he said.

photo of Kandy Flowers