Texas A&M University-Commerce President Dr. Mark Rudin joined Tyler Independent School District Superintendent Dr. Marty Crawford at a special ceremony on January 22 at the state-of-the-art Tyler ISD Career and Technology Center to sign a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the university and school district that opens pathways to becoming a Lion through financial and advisory assistance.
The MOU is the latest in a series of agreements between A&M-Commerce and area districts that aims to build stronger relationships and promote the university’s offerings. It establishes the Tyler ISD Pledge, as well as opens up the opportunity for participation in the new Rising Lion and Quick Start initiatives.
Superintendent Crawford, who earned his Doctorate in Educational Administration from A&M-Commerce in 2006, said at the ceremony that it was an honor for his district to participate in the program.
“It’s an honor for Tyler ISD to partner with a school that was founded as a teacher’s college,” Crawford said. “It certainly warms our hearts to partner with them as we develop the next generation of leaders.”
President Rudin likewise touted the strength of Tyler schools and the opportunities created with this partnership.
“I can’t tell you what an honor and a privilege it is to partner with such a well-respected school district like Tyler ISD,” Rudin said.
He continued: “We want to lead the way in training the newest slate of educators.”
In addition to the MOU signing, the newest class of the Team ONE Tyler Leadership Initiative was announced. Team ONE members are all educators in Tyler ISD that were specially chosen as highly-effective teachers, and it gives them a chance to earn their master’s in educational leadership at A&M-Commerce at no cost.
The newest Team ONE members are Mariela Ballester, Dejuan Brown, Andy Haas, Hilda Perez-Torres, Wesley Sanchez, Michael Smith and Claudia Viramontes. For these seven teachers, Tyler ISD will pay for all fees, tuition and even provide a textbook allowance for them to complete their degree at A&M-Commerce.
The MOU is directed toward both first-time, full-time degree-seeking undergraduates who graduate from Tyler ISD schools, as well as teachers or staff members of the district who seek graduate-level degrees.
The MOU offers the following three assistance programs to eligible candidates:
- A&M-Commerce will pay the remaining balance on any tuition not covered by other financial assistance for first-time, full-time degree-seeking undergraduate students.
- Pledge students are eligible for tuition assistance for up to eight semesters, beginning as first-time, full-time students (not including summer session) if renewal requirements are met.
- Students that take courses the second summer semester in July immediately after graduation will enjoy a housing fee waiver, the opportunity to choose their residence hall for their entire freshmen year, a free book voucher for two classes, and fun and engaging activities across campus.
- In addition, the Rising Lion Program will allow students to benefit from a personal mentor, small classes, mandatory study times on Monday through Thursday and daily routines to ensure academic success.
- This grant program will give teachers and staff members who are nominated by the Superintendent of Schools in Tyler ISD a $250 to $500 grant per semester for graduate-level studies at A&M-Commerce based on the number of credit hours taken. Students who enroll in three to five credit hours will receive $250, while students enrolled in six or more credit hours will receive $500.
For a list of eligibility requirements or more information, contact Abbie Harper at 903-468-8182 or at [email protected].