Golden Apple accepting applicants for 2021 accelerated teacher licensing program

Central Illinois Newsday

PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — Aiding in addressing the state’s critical teacher shortage, Golden Apple, an Illinois nonprofit, committed to preparing, supporting, and mentoring aspiring teachers, is now accepting applicants for its Accelerator’s class of 2021.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has only exacerbated the growing teacher shortage which makes Golden Apple’s work to resolve the shortage by expanding the state’s pipeline of highly effective educators through inspiring, developing, and supporting teacher and school leader excellence in Illinois, especially in schools-of-need, more important than ever.”

alan mather | president, golden apple

The one-year teacher residency and licensure program expedites the preparation of highly-qualified teachers in areas throughout the state that are most in need – notably southern, central, and western Illinois.

The ‘Accelerators’ teacher residency and licensure program targets and recruits career changers with bachelor’s degrees and college seniors not enrolled in teacher preparation programs. Participants receive a $25,000 to $30,000 stipend for coursework or living expenses as they pursue a teaching license; courses at a partner university; and participate in a one-year residency and training program in a targeted partner school district.

Golden Apple is striving to expand its ‘Accelerators’ program in 2021 by setting a goal to accept 150-200 participants, adding additional licensure pathways including Elementary and Early Childhood Education, and partnering with additional higher education partners and school districts across Illinois.


  • Obtain a teaching license within 15 months
  • Up to $30,000 stipend to apply to coursework and/or housing
  • One-year residency and training program in a targeted partner school district in southern, central, or western Illinois
  • Pursue coursework and earn credit at a partner university 
  • Job placement in a partner school district in southern, central, or western Illinois; begin teaching full-time in Fall 2022
  • Instruction from award-winning educators
  • Mentoring in the first years of teaching

Eligibility Requirements

  • College seniors attending universities or colleges who are not currently on a teaching pathway 
  • Career-changers who hold bachelor’s degrees
  • Illinois residents, U.S. citizens, eligible non-citizens, or Illinois Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) students live in or are from communities in southern, central, or western Illinois
  • Able to commit to working in an Illinois school-of-need for four years after program completion

Once the 2021 class is selected and inducted, participants will begin pursuing their teacher license in the summer of 2021 with the goal to begin teaching in their own classrooms at the start of the 2022/2023 academic year.

Visit for more information, or to apply to the 2021 Accelerators cohort.

The deadline is February 1, 2021.

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