We are beyond excited to announce that the Illinois General Assembly awarded the Golden Apple Foundation funds to start the Golden Apple Accelerators program. We are grateful to the General Assembly for listening as superintendents and principals across the state articulated the pressing need for teachers, and we are especially grateful that Golden Apple Accelerators can be part of a solution. With the funds provided in the State’s 2020 fiscal year budget, we are recruiting future teachers for the new GA Accelerator program. 

During this first year, we will recruit 50 people.  We are looking for seniors in college not in a teacher prep program and for people with bachelor’s degrees, but not prepared or certified as a teacher all of whom are from communities outside of Northeast Illinois and able to commit to teaching in targeted districts and regions of need for four years across Illinois out of Northeast Illinois.

We are also looking to partner with 3 – 6 districts or regions that have high need, high vacancy rates, and wish to partner with a traditional teacher prep program immediately. 

The GA Accelerators program is NOT an alternative certification program.  Our program focuses on people who are now interested in teaching, but did not receive teacher training during their undergraduate education, and our program emphasizes the hands-on residency portion of the program that serves the dual purpose of providing immediate assistance to districts and better preparing teachers. 


Future teachers (Accelerators) will be:

  • College seniors or those with bachelor’s degrees not in teaching  from communities outside of northeast Illinois; 

  • Committed to four years of teaching in a targeted, district or region outside of Northeastern Illinois for four years; 

  • Certified in hard-to-staff content/expertise areas guided by specific partner school needs.

Accelerators receive:

  •  A $30,000 stipend to apply toward a MAT (Masters of Arts in Teaching) at  our partner universities and/or housing;

  • A one-year residency and training program, run by Golden Apple, in schools in our partner regions or districts; 

  • A MAT from a partner university, receiving support from Golden Apple mentors throughout the process; 

  • Mentoring support in the first years of teaching in their schools.

The Partner Districts will agree to:

  • Provide an appropriate residency placement to an Accelerator; 

  • Place a mentor teacher from the district with the Accelerator to provide in-school support. This mentor must be agreed upon between partner district and Golden Apple and will work with the Golden Apple mentor supporting the Accelerator;

  • Support coursework by giving a free day (typically) during the week for the Accelerator to complete the requirements of the masters program.

  • Hire the Accelerator who successfully completes the coursework and residency (contingent upon the opening);

  • Enhance development of the Accelerator in the two years following the residency by allowing 4 -5 “release” days for attendance at the Accelerators cohort/PD meeting and supporting the Golden Apple mentor visits to the classroom.


We are looking for 3 – 6 districts/regions for the initial year and will be selecting partners based on:

  • Enthusiasm for supporting a cohort of teachers chosen to address your specific needs;

  • Demonstrated need for teachers through historical teacher vacancy data;

  • The ability and willingness of the leaders in the region or districts to support the inclusion of a cohort of Accelerators into the community; 

  • Demonstrated ability to support Accelerators and mentors through the residency. 

Interested in partnering with Golden Apple to address the teacher shortage in your area?