In Texas and throughout the United States, the teaching profession is facing significant challenges. Schools and districts are responding to teacher shortages and high turnover rates, and novice teachers are faced with limited resources and a lack of professional development opportunities. However, because of personal experience and a deep passion for education, one family is stepping up to help make a difference.
Anne and Preston Massey, third generation Longhorns and dedicated education advocates, are committed to enhancing the quality of education in Texas. Their two daughters are currently pursuing teaching degrees at UT’s College of Education, preparing to enter a profession that desperately needs devoted, empathetic and motivated leaders.
Through discussions with their daughters about the pathway to becoming a teacher, the Massey Family recognized the crucial need for financial support for future educators during their professional development sequence (also known as student teaching). The family realized that student teaching is an unpaid, full-time semester-long placement, which requires students to travel to and from their designated school, maintain a professional wardrobe, study for other classes and pay for their teaching certification exams fees. This creates challenges for all students, but especially those who were already experiencing financial challenges.
“You would never have a practicing doctor that hadn’t had a residency. It’s the same idea. You can’t have a successful, confident teacher without the support and hands-on training,” says Anne. “And that’s what our support is all about.”
Realizing the need for financial resources to support students during this important but difficult period, the Masseys established an endowment to provide financial assistance to aspiring teachers.
The Masseys started by targeting areas of giving that they had a deep vested interest in. “We thought about what we’re passionate about and where we have a personal connection, and education is square in the middle of that.”
Anne and Preston hope that their gift will not only ease the financial burden on students but also raise awareness and additional support for Texas teachers, students and communities. They want people to understand that the path to becoming a teacher is not an easy one, but they believe that by providing financial support and resources, they can help produce more confident, prepared and supported early career teachers.
“Attracting and retaining teachers is the core of improving education, and training is integral to all of it,” says Preston. “We want to do our part to enable proper training so that Texas can keep qualified, well-trained teachers in the classroom.”
Through their generosity, the Massey family is making a significant contribution to the future of education in Texas. They hope that their gift will inspire others to support the teaching profession and help ensure that all students have access to high-quality education and financial resources during a critical period when they lack the time or ability to support themselves. With their dedication and commitment to improving the lives of others, the Massey family is helping to change the landscape of teacher training throughout the state of Texas and beyond.
“Improving the quality of education in Texas is something that is extremely important to us,” shared Preston. “But also something that should be important to everyone because it is the foundation for all economic, political and social institutions in our state.”
Information about the Massey Family Endowment
Aspiring teachers in the College of Education enroll in a three-five semester Professional Development Sequence that ensures they are ready to enter the classroom after graduation. In addition to core coursework, future teachers participate in 800-1,300 hours of learning the foundation of teaching through fieldwork, classroom observation, and student-teaching in local schools. Students work alongside mentor teachers planning lessons, leading discussions at parent-teacher conferences, grading and direct classroom instruction—all with no salary or monetary compensation.
Between student teaching, coursework, mandatory seminars and preparing for certification exams, students no longer have time to work the full-or part-time jobs many depend on to finance their education. Additionally, the added costs of purchasing professional clothing, transportation to their school location and certification test fees further burden students who were already struggling financially.
The Anne and Preston Massey Endowed Student Teaching Excellence Fund provides annual support for future educators during their student teaching semesters and helps ensure they are able to focus on what matters most during this critical time.