Alhambra Individuals Involved in Troop to Teachers Program

Posted by Community Relations Department on 5/16/2012

There has been a lot of discussion lately about employment for returning servicemen and women.  One such program is the Troop to Teachers program, administered through the Arizona Department of Veteran Affairs.   The program helps prepare those leaving active duty, with stipends and grants toward degrees, certification and placement, including a three-year subsidy for teaching at a low-income school.   PBS is preparing a story on the program which will air later this spring, and  a crew came to ELL teacher Jeanne Erickson’s class for footage, and interviews.  Erickson was a master sergeant in the Army Reserve and National Guard for 22 years, before transitioning into full-time teaching, a career she has enjoyed for 15 years.  While she had a taste of training military administrators, and substituting, she has been active in the Troop to Teachers program for 10 years, serving as a mentor, supporting new teachers who have retired from active duty.  According to the program’s state administrator Ashford Harrigan,  former military personnel bring leadership, management, discipline, maturity and experience to the job.  Usually, these individuals are not offered the program until they have been in the service for six years or more. 


At Alhambra, there are six individuals in the program, besides Erickson: Social Studies teacher Adam Otero, Social Studies; David Thelon, health/PE, Mark Etter, business, Damian Fairbanks; Medical and Health Care magnet manager, Mike Slifer, science and Jim Nixon, JROTC.




“I usually show them my uniform and tell the students about my career at the beginning of the year.  The military experience really helps in discipline and controlling a classroom, Erickson said.   “Sometimes, for fun, I tell a student who is acting up to get down and do 20 pushups.  They think I am crazy, but I tell them if they don’t do it right, I’ll send them over to JROTC, and they’ll show how it’s done.  It’s not meant as punishment, but it does get their attention.”