The Clark County School District may start the year with hundreds of teacher vacancies but UNLV is aiming to fill some of those spots with its fast track teacher certification program.

The participant teachers inside this classroom are nearly done completing the Rebel Academy. It’s a four-week program making them eligible for for hire by CCSD this fall.

Teacher candidate Sean McKay offers instructions.

“Give me a couple sentences on why you picked that? Did we spend our money already?”

He guides students through a class project about 13th century castles. It’s not only a lesson for the children, bur for him.

“I can’t really recall the last time I’ve grown this much in a short period of time,” McKay said.

He is one of the 14 teacher candidates in the certification program. It allows professionals to quickly switch into a teaching career.

“I’m currently in retail management still, while attending this program.”

“This is a Masters level program. They all have Bachelors Degrees,” said Iesha Jackson, director of Rebel Academy.

The candidates receive a hands-on experience in course curriculum development, lesson planning and classroom instruction. A mentor and site facilitator sit nearby to guide and evaluate the teachers. This helps prepare them for a job.

“As long as they pass their practice exam, they’re eligible for a license to begin teaching,” Jackson said. “Many of our candidates, by the end of the summer, have jobs in CCSD as well as local charter schools.”

Filling a need while embarking on the next journey in their lives.

“We have teachers who have life experiences that they’re bringing into the classroom,” Jackson said.

“Kind of nervous to be honest, just to be thrown right into it but I’m glad to be involved at this time because I know the district needs help,” McKay said.

Participant teachers will return to UNLV this fall to complete required course work for full licensing.  Next week wraps up the 4th annual Rebel Academy.

The students in the classroom are recruited by the program to give candidates a hands-on experience.