KAHEC Serving as Training Ground for Bootheel Educators


Photo of Denise Goodman-Yount

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., Aug. 12, 2005 – Denise Goodman-Yount, a teacher with the Gideon school district, also instructs a children’s literature class at the Kennett Area Higher Education Center.

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., Aug. 12, 2005 — A high demand for educators in the Southeast Missouri Bootheel has created a fertile job market for education majors there.

Thanks to the Kennett Area Higher Education Center (KAHEC), the need for teachers in this area is being filled in a quality way. KAHEC Director Marsha Blanchard says she regularly receives calls from schools in Pemiscot and Dunklin counties looking for qualified and quality education majors.

 “There is a great demand for quality elementary educators within our district,” said Denise Goodman-Yount, a teacher with the Gideon school district. 

Because Goodman-Yount also instructs a children’s literature class at KAHEC and is acquainted with KAHEC education majors, she says Gideon school officials tap her when they need to recruit new primary educators. 

“Our district is very particular when hiring substitutes and teachers,” she said. “When the need arises, I contact the director of KAHEC, Marsha Blanchard, and ask for her recommendations, because I am familiar with the quality of their students both academically and personality wise.” 

Goodman-Yount said Southeast graduates with education majors are prepared and have been trained on the cutting edge of effective instructional methods. In fact, two KAHEC graduates have been employed by the Gideon school district for the 2005-2006 school year.   

Blanchard said KAHEC is turning out teachers who are able to teach according to the individual needs of each student to maximize student achievement.  This is important, she says, because schools are searching for educators who can adapt to the philosophy of the school district’s learning expectations. 

All recent education graduates of the Kennett Area Higher Education Center, and even future 2005 graduates, have found placement as teachers, Blanchard said. Twice, she said, KAHEC students have even been promised employment pending their graduation and certification. 

Blanchard says school administrators understand a quality education program when they see it.  Sixty of the 430 enrolled KAHEC students for this fall are education majors and, some of them, will begin their Block II studies this semester. 

“Both Dunklin and Pemiscot counties contain seven school districts each. This reinforces the job market for our students anticipating a degree in education,” Blanchard said. 

All required courses for an elementary teaching degree are available on site at both KAHEC and the Harry L. Crisp Bootheel Education Center (CBEC) in Malden, Mo. This is significant, Blanchard said, when location and childcare are the top concerns of those wishing to continue their education after high school. 

Goodman-Yount said many KAHEC students work full time, and location is the number- one factor in their decision to continue their education. She says that without this (KAHEC) facility, they would not have driven the distance to another campus. 

“A large majority of the students at higher education centers are non-traditional, so even without driving further to the main campus, they are still faced with many obstacles where it seems every-day life gets in the way,” Blanchard said. 

The main campuses of Southeast Missouri State University in Cape Girardeau and Arkansas State University in Jonesboro are 50 to 100 miles from Kennett. In addition to the distance, Blanchard says it is important for students to earn an education degree from a Missouri institution so they are ensured of a Missouri teaching certificate.

She says the advising staff at KAHEC is very instrumental in planning students’ schedules so there is no need for them to drive to Cape Girardeau except to attend graduation ceremonies.

“This facility allows primary education students to access all the resources they need to complete their degree, including those from Kent Library, ITV and online courses,” Blanchard said. 

Sometimes, course requirements in the College of Education change from year to year. Blanchard says KAHEC students are advised about the most recent changes as quickly as  possible. KAHEC advisors have convenient access to current and future changes planned in Southeast’s curriculum, preventing unnecessary coursework and added expenses.

“Our advising staff here at KAHEC is critical to our students’ success, timely graduation and pocketbook,” Blanchard said. 

She says students appreciate when KAHEC is conscientious and careful with their time and money. 

Because there is an excellent opportunity in education and for employment in the teaching field, the outlook for KAHEC education majors is exciting.  

“With capable instructors who supervise students’ field experiences with such professionalism and commitment, it’s obvious to see why school districts come to us asking for recommendations for new faculty,” Blanchard said. “It’s the whole package that makes our students attractive and enhances our reputation.”