The Curry School of Education has a strong partnership with local school systems which enables more than 100 students to fill positions as student teachers each academic year and pursue potential careers. Currently, there are 370 Curry alumni the University knows of working in Albemarle County and Charlottesville City schools.
Alumni fill positions as teachers, principals, assistant principals, counselors, specialists and more.
Curry’s Field Placement Coordinator Adria Hoffman said there is a high demand from both local schools and from Curry students to fill open positions within the school systems — from student teachers to broader administration.
“Our alumni are really sought after for the leadership skills they develop here,” Hoffman said. “They start in teacher positions and often move into leadership roles.”
Curry students enrolled in the teacher education program satisfy the requirement for clinical in-class experience through a semester-long teaching internship, which places them in a Virginia school based on both their preferences and the availability of positions with partner schools.
Students are carefully and strategically placed in local school systems to gain experience best suited to their career goals, Hoffman said. These student teaching roles can often lead to more permanent employment after graduation.
“By default interning in a placement for 16 weeks operates as a long term interview,” Hoffman said. “It really helps [students] solidify some strong networks and potential employment opportunities and helps the schools identify potential teacher candidates.”
Hoffman emphasized the strength and quality of Curry’s partnerships with local schools to provide students with diverse and excellent teaching experience, which includes Charlottesville City schools, Albemarle County schools, as well as schools in neighboring counties like Greene, Louisa and Fluvanna.
Most students are placed in Albemarle County and Charlottesville City schools. The Albemarle County public school system alone includes 26 schools as potential sites for internships, including 16 elementary schools, five middle schools and three high schools.
In the last semester, 92 students had internship placements in the Albemarle school district and 23 students had placements with the Charlottesville school district
Dr. Clare Keiser, assistant director of educator quality with Albemarle County, said Curry students gain excellent skills and knowledge about local schools when they complete their internships, which gives them a leg up when applying for jobs within the area.
“It’s a very strong teacher preparation program at Curry and [the students] have experience with our schools,” Keiser said. “They already have an understanding of some of the work each school is doing so we hire a number of Curry students each year at the elementary, middle and high school levels.”
Keiser herself received her doctorate from Curry’s Administration and Supervision program after teaching for several years.
Carole Nelson, director of human resources with Charlottesville City Schools, said Curry students and alumni also fill many short-term roles in local schools.
“Often we are able to utilize those students as substitutes, both short and long term, as well as hourly intervention, tutors and summer school teachers,” Nelson said. “These relationships often turn into full-time teaching careers.”
Many staff members already in the Charlottesville school system return to the University to further their education, either to take individual classes or to obtain a degree, Nelson added.
Charlottesville and Albemarle school representatives also both participate in Curry career fairs hosted in the Spring as well as panels and talks throughout the semester.
“I think that I am always excited when I get to work with students at Curry. I love hearing their enthusiasm for the work and what they dream of for students,” Keiser said. “I really get reenergized by their level of excitement and commitment for one of the greatest professions that there actually is.”