The McCracken scholarship is for future teachers and administrators who reside in Manatee Co.

USF Sarasota-Manatee, School District of Manatee County sign agreement to hire School of Education graduates

By: Rich Shopes

Posted: August 07, 2019

SARASOTA, Fla. (Aug. 07, 2019)USF Sarasota-Manatee and the School District of Manatee County have approved an agreement that guarantees USFSM elementary education students a teaching job in the district once they graduate.

The program goes into effect this fall and applies to elementary education students who are beginning their final teaching internships in Manatee County schools ahead of graduation in December. Currently, 15 students fall into that category. However, the program will apply to future teaching graduates as well.

“We are grateful to the school district of Manatee County for formalizing this opportunity for our students, and we are proud that our teacher-preparation program produces such consistently excellent teachers that the school district sees no risk in making this commitment of employment,” said Jane Rose, PhD, dean of the College of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences, which includes USFSM’s School of Education.

Students interested in the program will sign contracts with human resources representatives at the Manatee district to ensure their placement. Once they graduate, and after meeting district criteria, the students will work as long-term substitute teachers until the state issues teaching certificates to allow them to transition to full-time public school teachers.

A formal announcement about the program is set for Tuesday, Aug. 13, during an orientation for the interns at USFSM’s Selby Auditorium, 8350 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota.

The students will need to complete all required coursework at USFSM, fill out an online job application, submit hiring documents in a timely manner and meet other district requirements. The Manatee school board would finalize the hiring requests, which is standard for teacher applications.

    Dr. Marie Byrd

“We thank the School District of Manatee County for the value they have placed in the quality of our elementary education program graduates in the School of Education,” Marie Byrd, EdD, director of the School of Education, said. “The positive feedback we have received from principals and teachers in the district affirms that our graduates are highly qualified to begin their teaching careers. This opportunity will assist with the teacher shortage that has been a nationwide issue.”

The program was created after Byrd and Vanessa Marasco, PhD, coordinator of clinical education, attended a meeting with district principals in January. After a discussion about recruitment, an agreement was reached to explore the direct hiring of School of Education graduates.

Dr. Vanessa Marasco

“We made it our mission to get this finalized and roll it out it in the fall,” Marasco said. “I can imagine that many of our students will want to sign up right way. This is a life-changing opportunity for our students. They’re going to be able to graduate with a job.”

The hiring program is a first for the School of Education, although nearly all of its graduates have landed teaching jobs in recent years. Byrd said the agreement attests to the School of Education’s reputation and strong relationship with local schools.

She said she hopes a similar agreement is reached with district leaders in Sarasota and added that efforts are underway to reach out to the district. About 15 education students are set to begin their final internships in Sarasota this fall.

USFSM education students are required to participate in three internships before they graduate, starting in their junior year and ending in the last semester of their senior year. The practice results in students becoming well-known by teachers and principals and well-accustomed to local school practices and policies.

Still, the promise of a guaranteed job is an exciting development, said Marasco, who oversees the School of Education’s internship program.

“Last semester, four of our interns were offered jobs near the end of their internships,” she said. “To have that as a possibility for all of our Manatee County students is a goal they can work toward. It’s a great opportunity for our students and the university.”

For more about programs at USFSM’s School of Education, visit

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