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NC Teacher Cadet

The North Carolina Teacher Cadet Program is an in-state teacher recruitment and leadership program designed to create a pipeline of students to be the next generation of teachers and one that is reflective of the diverse demographic makeup of the students served. Teacher Cadet is a solution for the teacher shortage and the lack of educators who reflect student demographics, both which lead to increased student achievement, graduation, and career preparedness.

The North Carolina Teacher Cadet Program began in 1997 and has proven to be successful in increasing student interest in the teaching profession with the long-term focus on “growing our own” teachers. 

The North Carolina Teacher Cadet Program course curriculum is owned, administered, written and copyrighted by the North Carolina Foundation for Public School Children. The Foundation establishes the parameters and direction on how the courses are administered. The curriculum is free to public schools who follow the directives, including how the curriculum may be used.

COURSE CODES: The North Carolina Teacher Cadet Curriculum(c) and training are for high school courses using DPI’s Teacher Cadet course codes only:
TC I –  96042XO / Honors- 96045XO
TC II – 96062XO / Honors- 96065XO

Community College – The North Carolina Teacher Cadet Curriculum(c) is not available to or for community college courses. The program is a curriculum for and service to North Carolina public schools.

CTE – The North Carolina Teacher Cadet Curriculum(c) is not provided to CTE teachers or is to be taught as a CTE course at this time.

Teacher Cadet is implemented in cooperation with public school districts in North Carolina.

Offered as an honors course in most LEA’s, the course curriculum is geared toward high school juniors and seniors in North Carolina’s public school system. Employing a “Grow Our Own” philosophy, the course develops future educators at the point in their lives when they are actively exploring career choices.

Using a curriculum involving hands-on teaching methods and field experiences, the program is a structured course of study that gives students a positive and realistic view of the educational profession. Most importantly the program encourages high school students to attend college and to eventually teach in North Carolina public schools. The curriculum contains content to span from one, and up to four semesters, though most schools establish a Teacher I and II over a course of two semesters. In most schools, Teacher Cadet courses are offered as honors classes.

The Teacher Cadet Curriculum is written and revised by a group of highly qualified North Carolina licensed public school teachers known as the Teacher Cadet Council. The most current edition uses “Bloom’s Revised Taxonomy” in all lesson plans in a format that encourages recognition and use of higher-order thinking skills. The curriculum is available in both hard copy and electronic editions and released to teachers after successful completion of a 14-hour curriculum training workshop and who abide by and sign the contract to follow the Foundation’s directives.

The curriculum introduces students to the science of learning, the role of the learner, professional expectations and responsibilities of the teacher and also presents the global perspective of educational systems past, present, and future. The curriculum is activity based and uses observation and reflection, student choice, projects, individualized contracts and research to effectively engage students in learning. The curriculum also teaches basic concepts of human growth and development, current educational research and practices, history of education, and development of the education profession. Information is included on brain research, best practices, and a section on tips from current Teacher Cadet instructors.  

Teacher Cadet’s mission is to not only build a pipeline of future teachers but to also build a coalition of state public education advocates and leaders. In 2014 the Teacher Cadet State Leadership component was launched and institutes initiatives to connect and network cadet students throughout the state through events and social media.

State Conference: An annual highly-anticipated experience for cadets convenes for two days in our state’s capital city. Built into the student-designed and student-led professional conference are speakers, general and breakout sessions, team building and networking activities, a college fair, and fun activities for the diverse personalities. The conference provides opportunities to engage with peers, learn about relevant topics, explore college opportunities, and have fun. For many students it is a first time to see the “beyond their community, county, and school.” Every conference presents us with students who have never stayed in a hotel, never met a college representative and never eaten in a restaurant. Years of student feedback tells us the conference is “the lightbulb moment” for many in making the decision to become a teacher.

Teacher Cadet State Leaders and Cabinet: Each year at conference, a team of State Officers
are elected by their peers. The leadership team meets with the Executive Director and Teacher
Cadet State Coordinator throughout the year to learn and hone individual and team leadership
skills, bond through reflection and discussion of required reading, and design the annual
conference. State student leaders plan and lead all aspects of the conference from choosing the
theme, selecting speakers, choosing breakout session topics, and promoting the event to all
state cadets.

Students who complete the program develop a passion for the teaching profession and become strong advocates for it by recruiting others to take the course. The people who work in this program have a passion for the future of public education in North Carolina and are invested to ensure the integrity and continued development of the program.

Rural and economically distressed counties find it challenging to recruit and retain quality teachers from other counties and states. Statistics have shown that students who grow up in these areas are more likely to return to them after college. A Teacher Cadet program reduces the time and financial burden of teacher recruitment and retention and school systems can redirect scarce resources to other needy areas. In addition, local students with local ties and local knowledge, will more easily assimilate into the school’s environment and the community at large. This translates to longer teaching commitments and, in turn, lower costs of replacement. It’s a win-win-win scenario for the school, the teacher, and the community.

The Teacher Cadet State Coordinator directs the Teacher Cadet Program in partnership with the
Executive Director of the NC Foundation for Public School Children and with the support of the
Teacher Cadet Cadre. The Cadre is a group of licensed public school teachers from various
areas of North Carolina who serve as the advisory committee for the program. These teachers
write and revise the curriculum, lead curriculum workshops, provide ongoing support to cadet
teachers and classrooms, and have strong ties to the Teacher Cadet Program.

Teacher Cadet partners with North Carolina’s university system and other higher education institutions in a mutual effort to produce teachers for North Carolina. Through partnerships with colleges and universities who have approved Education Programs, cadets can receive instruction at a college level at times, build relationships with professors and education majors from college campuses, gather more specific information about the various teacher education programs offered, and have experiences on those campuses prior to the time that they choose a college and/or enroll in one. While the college serves as a resource to these high schools by planning support activities to enhance the depth of knowledge about education, they also build relationships with future education students. Some universities offer college credit hours to students who present a completed Teacher Cadet portfolio.

To implement the Teacher Cadet Program course study, the school’s administrator will select a North Carolina licensed teacher to instruct classes. Before starting a Teacher Cadet class, the teacher is required to complete a two-day 14-hour curriculum training led by the Teacher Cadet Council.  

Curriculum Workshops >

Workshops are scheduled based on demand. Cost per registrant averages $400 which
includes workshop fee, hotel, meals, training materials, curriculum notebook and access
code to electronic curriculum. Additional financial support is available for schools and
districts in Tier 1 counties.

More info?

Contact Dr. Gwynne Shoaf, Teacher Cadet State Coordinator,
gwynne.shoaf@ncfpsc.org or (704) 640-1755.

2023-2024 State Officers




East Forsyth High School



Linconlton High School

Breana Kearney


Communications Director

Wayne School of Engineering

Jessalyn Hendrix


Social media coordinator


2022-2023 State Officers



Richmond Senior High School




East Forsyth High School



Communications Director

Lincolnton High School



Social Media Director

Alexander Central High School

Recent Expansion and Initiatives

2020– Full Curriculum Revision and Update

Tier 1 Counties Expansion and Student Support – AT&T North Carolina Gift – $25,000  

1 – Establish new Teacher Cadet classes and strengthen current classes.
2 – Provide students with opportunities to “see and experience beyond” while equipping them with classroom tools, supplies, and providing for needs that inhibit their academic experience.
3 – Cadets participate in the two-day Teacher Cadet state student conference.

STEM Component – Duke Energy Grant – $15,000

STEM component was created as a curriculum expansion. Schools have the option to offer the curriculum as a general teacher recruitment tool or to offer it as a STEM teacher recruitment tool.