Central College News

Central’s Extraordinary Education Majors

Featured: Central’s Extraordinary Education Majors

January 7, 2016

Want to be an extraordinary teacher?

It’s all about experience. Central students typically get three years’ experience before student teaching. That’s more preparation than at any other college in the state.

Long before graduation, our education majors are rocking it in area classrooms, and nearly 100 percent of our majors are hired within six months of graduation. Education majors can also apply to Central Teacher Academy (CTA). This exceptional program pairs Central students with mentor teachers in local schools where they gain valuable experience.


“A Central teacher is well prepared and in demand, not only in our state, but across the country. When I talk with superintendents and principals, they tell me a Central teacher is the best hire they can make.”

— Mark Putnam, Central College president

Tara Sorensen Kraft ’08

  • Participated in Central Teacher Academy 2005-2008
  • Now teaches second grade at Madison Elementary School in Pella

“By my junior year, I was already planning and teaching a whole class math and reading lessons — something other students didn’t get the opportunity to do until they student taught. When I began student teaching during my senior year, I was able to jump right in and already felt confident when I was in front of the class.”

Jill Parsons Payne ’04

  • Participated in the first class of Central Teacher Academy
  • Now teaches fifth-grade math and science at Jefferson Intermediate School in Pella

“Central’s education professors took a personal interest in me as a person and as a teacher. They were always there to listen when I had questions or needed help — and to challenge and push me beyond my comfort zone to help me become a better teacher.”


Scholarships are available: Apply for the Geisler Penquite Scholarship and receive up to $5,000 each year.

Crystal Spoor ’14

  • Mentored by Tara Sorensen Kraft in Central Teacher Academy
  • Now teaches eighth-grade language arts in Southeast Polk Community School District in the Des Moines metro

“I cannot fully express how essential my mentor was in developing my own ideals of teaching.”

Tara: “It was such a neat experience for me to watch her confidence in herself and her teaching grow. Since she had been in my room her sophomore and junior year, she jumped into teaching the second week of school and took off from there.”

Teach the world with your professors

Want to teach in Puerto Rico? Six education students recently spent winter break there. They taught local students and did research with Central professors. Students can also teach in Sierra Leone, Africa, inner-city Chicago or on one of Central’s study abroad programs.

Over 96% of education grads complete the Praxis Exam successfully. Central wins the Recognition of Excellence Indicator Award for high scores each year.

“Central has students in the classroom in the very first education course. That classroom experience was so helpful for me as I prepared to be a teacher.”

— Kathryn Manternach ’14, math teacher, Williamsburg Community School District in Williamsburg