28 RAPIL Graduates Find a New Calling in Teaching

RAPIL alternative pathway to licensureTwenty-eight non-traditional students, who transformed their initial career choices into a foundation to teach middle and high school students, will complete the Regents Alternative Pathway to Iowa Licensure program (RAPIL) on Saturday, April 25.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the ceremony honoring their accomplishment is delayed until fall 2020. 

RAPIL is designed to help alleviate teacher shortages in Iowa secondary schools by providing a way for individuals with an existing bachelor’s degree and experience to enter the teaching profession. This is the 10th cohort to complete the RAPIL program, a collaborative effort by the University of Northern Iowa, University of Iowa and Iowa State University. The two-year program combines coursework, field experience and a year-long internship. Successful completion leads to recommendation for an Initial Iowa Teaching License. 

"There is quite a diversity of backgrounds our students bring,” says Amy Mayer, program coordinator. “For example just in this cohort, one candidate was an accountant, another has extensive experience in the construction field, another worked in a biotech laboratory. These real-world experiences in their content area enrich the lessons for students in the classroom.”

RAPIL classroomAll of the interns are Iowa residents, with the exception of one student from Illinois. Jamie Fehring, 34, from Bedford, noted she started substitute teaching to help with expenses after a relocation. “I had no idea that I would just fall in love with being in a classroom. After doing some research, I discovered the RAPIL program, and it sounded like it would be a perfect fit for a working mother. This program made it possible for me to be a mom, to work as a substitute teacher, and be a student concurrently. I am forever thankful for this program, and excited about my future as a teacher,” says Fehring, who previously worked in a biotech lab. 

“RAPIL has been an outstanding experience and opportunity for me. It gave me an opportunity to chase my true passion, teaching. While at times, the program has felt intense and demanding, the ability to achieve teacher certification in just two years and with one of those years allowing me to be a fully certified teacher has been fantastic,” says Matt Haddy, 37, from Marion, who has a background in history, political science, and athletic administration. “I know there are people out there like me who feel the calling to become teachers later in life but feel as though their options are limited. I strongly encourage those people to pursue their dreams through the RAPIL program.”  

In addition to Fehring and Haddy, 2020 RAPIL program completers include: Mary Bimm, Emily Bonneau, Ryan Burger, Angela Ericson, Benjamin Evans, Natalie Fry, Jackie Hawley, Ai-Linh Hong-Miller, Crystal Koehler, Nicholas Law, Cassy Lowry, Laurie Miles, Julie Mount, Tracy Pauly, Kylie Ruehlow, Sarah Schlager, Kim Schroeder, Michael Simpson, Bennett Smith, Joan Soppe, Crystal Stevenson, Andrea Sullivan, Krista Wallace, Michael White and Kirk Wischmeyer.

Since being established, 144 interns have become licensed teachers in 28 endorsement areas. More than 150 districts across the state have hosted and hired RAPIL candidates and interns. For more information on RAPIL, go to Iowateacherintern.org.