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Troops to Teachers

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June 11, 2008

Valdosta - A transition from military to civilian life can be tough. 

But some airmen at Moody met with an organization Wednesday that works to make it a bit easier. Troops to teachers helps retiring military switch careers.

For twenty years, Derald Jones served his county in the Air Force.  "I actually taught school in the military for a while."

Now he's using the skills he learned there to serve the local community as a teacher.

"The military troops, male or female, have a lot to offer for leadership of our troops today or our kids today," says Jones, now the Assistant Principal at Hahira Middle.

His transition was easy, thanks to a program called Troops to teachers.

The organization provides military personnel with the counseling and money to move from the front lines to the front of the class.  "It can provide up to $5,000 to eligible veterans to pay for the costs of meeting state certification requirements," says Georgia program manager Bill Kirkland.  "In addition, there's a bonus up to $10,000 once they start teaching if elected to teach at a high needs school."

Since 2002, the program has placed over 400 troops in school systems throughout the state and they say the combination seems to be a perfect match.

"A lot of the same qualities that make them successful in the military careers also are those qualities that will assist them in being good teachers," Kirkland says.

"A military person for the most part is pretty regimented, fairly well organized and very easily adaptable so this is the perfect transition for military people," Jones adds.

Troops for teachers managers were at Moody Air Force Base Wednesday, recruiting airmen who want to serve again as the next generation of Georgia teachers.

Troops to teachers also works with military spouses interested in becoming teachers.

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