Sierra Nevada College To Grow Its Teacher Pipeline

Oct 13, 2015

Students at Alice Smith Elementary School in Reno.
Credit Alexa Ard

With a new leader at its helm, Sierra Nevada College is looking to grow. Reno Public Radio's Michelle Bliss reports that the school specifically plans to expand its teaching licensure programs as the state's teacher shortage deepens.

Sierra Nevada College, based in Incline Village, is the biggest it's ever been with about a thousand students today. The private school is approaching its fiftieth anniversary but has only beefed up its enrollment in the past decade from just a few hundred. A lot of that growth has been in its teacher licensure programs, which have satellite campuses in Reno and Las Vegas. 

Alan Walker is the new president for Sierra Nevada College, the only private four-year college in the state. More than half of the school's thousand students are enrolled in graduate teacher licensure programs.

"I see the growth of centers and online to compliment the main campus as a strategy for growing the institution overall," says Alan Walker, the college's new president, "as well as our continued response to the needs of Nevada as it relates to teachers."

Just last week, K-12 school districts across Nevada reported being short by nearly a thousand licensed teachers. Most of those vacant positions are in Clark County and are being filled by long-term subs.

"I think the biggest thing is really building a steady pipeline of teachers and leaders," says Seth Rau with Nevada Succeeds, an education advocacy group.

Rau says that training school administrators in-state is also critical and points to progress being made at both UNR and UNLV where those leadership programs have either been re-established or expanded this school year.