Isothermal offers new teacher prep degrees 

Published 10:16 am Thursday, June 30, 2022

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The road to becoming a teacher just got easier in Polk and Rutherford counties.


Starting in August, Isothermal Community College will begin offering a pair of new teacher preparation degrees, one as an Associate in Arts and the other as an Associate of Sciences. 

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The two-year degrees meet the general education requirements for the student to transfer to a four-year school as a junior on the way to a career in a variety of high-demand K-12 roles.


“The greatest benefit of these programs is to allow perspective teachers early opportunities for field experiences from the first semester,” said Alice McCluney, the Teacher Prep lead instructor. “This will allow students to see what the teaching field is like from the teacher’s perspective much earlier than most education programs at the university level. Many times at the university, you won’t have any exposure to education content courses and observations until your junior year.”


Another advantage Isothermal brings to the table is the low cost. With the Powers Promise, residents of Rutherford and Polk counties may be able to attend tuition-free. 

Local school administrators are excited about the prospect of an increased supply of teachers. It is estimated that North Carolina will need an additional 200,000 teachers by 2025.


“We are very excited to hear about the new educator preparation programs being offered at Isothermal Community College,” said Superintendent Aaron Greene of Polk County Schools. “Given the staffing challenges public schools are currently facing, this is welcome news. We value our partnership with ICC and look forward to the promise of these new programs. They are wonderful for our students looking to go into education, and for districts needing quality candidates to serve students.”


Dr. David Sutton, superintendent of Rutherford County Schools, shared Greene’s sentiment.


“The benefits and impact of Isothermal Community College’s associate degree programs in teacher preparation are genuinely exciting,” said Sutton. “Those programs represent a great springboard for aspiring teachers to build a strong foundation for success, and they also represent a great pathway for other individuals to enter the education profession as highly qualified teaching assistants and paraprofessionals.”

McCluney said the courses offer learning in a variety of settings.


“With this program, students will have four core education-specific courses with multiple opportunities for observations and teaching mini-lessons each semester,” McCluney said.


For more information on the Teacher Prep curriculum, contact McCluney at or 828-395-1444. 



Submitted by Michael Gavin