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How a 77-year-old former nun is turning veterans into teachers

For creating a program that allows military veterans to become certified teachers, Teach-Now founder and CEO Emily Feistritzer is one of Fast Company’s Most Creative People of 2019.

How a 77-year-old former nun is turning veterans into teachers
[Illustration: Artur Tenczyński]
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Veterans have skills that can translate well to leading a classroom. Having conducted multiple studies of a Defense Department–funded program called Troops to Teachers that was congressionally enacted in 1993, longtime education researcher Emily Feistritzer says she “knew a good bit about the potential of that market.” Teach-Now, her six-year-old online teacher-education platform, partnered with the Veterans Administration two years ago, and today the Department of Veteran Affairs is covering the $6,000 tuition cost for the 60 veterans enrolled in Teach-Now’s nine-month teaching certification program. Feistritzer, 77, who began her career as a Catholic nun teaching high school science and math while still in her teens (she left the convent in 1972), founded Teach-Now to prepare educators for digitally native kids. The program’s collaborative virtual courses culminate in a teacher’s certificate and/or a master’s of education—and (as of this May) can also provide professional development for current teachers. The Washington, D.C.–based company is DOE accredited and has university status—and yields more than 20% in annual profit, Feistritzer says. It has enrolled 3,000 aspiring teachers (graduating over 1,700) in more than 110 countries and territories. “Half of the veterans we have in Teach-Now are wanting to teach outside the U.S.,” she says.

About the author

Anna Meyer is a Minneapolis native and J-school alum from The University of Kansas with a keen interest in how technology and innovation will shape tomorrow. During her time as The Riveter magazine's digital editor, her work appeared in print and online covering a variety of topics within the scope of women's lives and interests

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