NACOGDOCHES, Texas — Stephen F. Austin State University’s James I. Perkins College of Education has partnered with the Galena Park Independent School District to staff up to five paid internships during the 2022-23 academic year.

The program, which launches this fall, will let students use clinical teaching assignments to gain valuable classroom experience before entering the education workforce. While all teaching areas are available, GPISD particularly needs interns in early childhood through sixth grade, special education, bilingual education, math and English language arts.

The paid internship program at GPISD is similar to those SFA has recently established with Nacogdoches Independent School District, Huntington Independent School District and Lufkin Independent School District.

Paid internships, a new development for SFA and its partner districts, reflect the current state of education. Also, aside from hands-on, résumé-building experience, a perk for SFA students is the possibility that the internships could lead to full-time positions after they graduate.

“Texas is experiencing a teacher shortage that is crippling our school districts,” said Michelle Miller, SFA clinical experience coordinator. “In an effort to combat that shortage, Galena Park ISD developed a paid clinical teaching experience for deserving SFA teacher candidates. We are hopeful that the incentives being offered by GPISD during clinical teaching will lead to their retention after graduation.”

The Perkins College of Education has a long-standing relationship with GPISD, which for years has provided a quality field site and mentors for SFA students. Tony Gardea, GPISD’s senior director for human resources, said the opportunity is a golden one for teacher candidates.

"If you want to be the best, come learn from the best in Galena Park ISD," he said.