Scott Ridley has been at the forefront of teacher preparation reform since before coming to Texas Tech in 2011.
The architect of Texas Tech University's nationally recognized teacher preparation program now will have a chance to influence the direction of education statewide as a member the State Board for Educator Certification.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott this week appointed Scott Ridley, dean of the College of Education at Texas Tech University, to the board, which oversees the preparation, certification and standards of conduct for public school educators. The dean's role is a non-voting seat, but he will be able to contribute to the board's discussion, deliberations and scholarship.
It's an achievement for West Texas and Texas Tech, he said.
"This appointment increases Texas Tech's profile in the field of education throughout the state and our efforts to influence standards set in the state for quality not only for teachers but also for principals and administrators," Ridley said.
This also is a big step for improved teacher preparation statewide. Only about a third of Texas' teachers received an education in teaching, compared to the national average of 80 percent. More than half of teachers in Texas classrooms got jobs when districts needed teachers; they got minimal training and education after beginning the job. This problem is especially prevalent in low income schools. Satisfaction rates with these teachers are low, but as long as it is allowed, districts are still hiring.
However, Ridley said that is changing, and this appointment will put him and Texas Tech in a place of influence as the change begins.
"There's a growing consciousness in the state that we need to do better, and TechTeach is the high-end preparation that has high expectations and high demands. You've got to demonstrate you can actually teach before you finish the program," he said. "I think they wanted more of that perspective on the board."
- Ridley pioneered TechTeach, the competency-based teacher preparation program the College of Education uses to prepare its students for the classroom.
- He authored a $7 million grant that created the U.S. PREP National Center, which works with six regional teacher preparation programs to help prepare them for education reform.
- He authored the grant that created the East Lubbock Promise Neighborhood grant, a multi-agency project aimed at improving the health, life and livelihood of one of Texas' most struggling areas.
- Ridley is a member of Deans for Impact, Educate Texas and the Southern Regional Education Board Teacher Preparation Commission.
- He will finish the term of a retired member and next year be reappointed to serve a full term.