Emory Helms, associate professor of education at Coastal Carolina University, has been elected secretary of the National Association of Alternative Certification (NAAC). Helms has been active with the South Carolina Program of Alternative Certification for Educators (PACE) for the past six years, serving as the chief curriculum designer and lead instructor in Coastal's program.
During his two-year term as secretary, Helms will help coordinate the NAAC's membership base and assist in planning the national conference that serves as both a professional training opportunity for members and allows program providers the chance to share ideas about successful program design and implementation.
PACE focuses both on the immediate skills needed by the new teacher and examines the theories associated with "best practice" in supporting student achievement. Candidates for certification participate in a two-year program of study on Coastal's campus while they are filling critical vacancies in classrooms across the state. Coastal has 723 participants enrolled in the program and will begin training with another 180 this summer. Approximately 300 participants complete Coastal's PACE teacher training program each year; Coastal is the largest single provider of teachers trained annually in South Carolina.
"What we find in analyzing the variety of programs and delivery systems across the nation is that the program model used by Coastal Carolina University is grounded in the best of all options," said Helms. The program at Coastal is a partnership with the State Department of Education, local school districts and Coastal's College of Education.
Alternative Certification options for credentialing educators has experienced rapid growth across the United States and is now in existence in 40 of the 50 states. "This alternative method of preparing beginning teachers to meet the challenges of the classroom has grown with the increased demand for teachers and the lack of traditionally prepared teachers sufficient to meet the vacancies which exist in the schools of our state," said Myra Reynolds, director of the PACE program at Coastal.
"We are very proud to have Dr. Helms recognized as a national leader in Alternative Certification," said Gilbert Hunt, dean of Coastal's College of Education. "We are proud of the quality of the program that Dr. Helms, Mrs. Reynolds and the others associated with this program have attained."
Helms, who joined the Coastal faculty in 1995, earned bachelor's and master's degrees from Troy State University and an Ed.D from Auburn University.