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Appalachia Teach For America Appalachia Awarded Grant to Scale Post Secondary Pathway Program

The Accelerate ED: Seamless Pathways to Degrees and Careers Grant Seeks to Re-Design K-12, Higher Education and Career Learning Experiences, Driving Appalachian Students Towards Economic Mobility


Teach For America (TFA) Appalachia is proud to announce its participation in Accelerate ED: Seamless Pathways to Degrees and Careers, an initiative out of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation that seeks to blur the lines between high school and higher education and career learning experiences, allowing students to earn a career-aligned credential or degree just one year out of high school.

TFA Appalachia, together with 11 other Accelerated ED grantees representing diverse communities and labor markets, will be focused on redesigning K-12 and higher ed structures; strengthening local school, higher education, community-based organization, and employer partnerships; aligning on common goals for what experiences and opportunities all students should have in grades 9-13; and identifying innovative ways to increase access to reach all students.

“We are excited and humbled to have the opportunity to work alongside a diverse coalition of organizations and leaders stewarded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to create tangible pathways towards postsecondary readiness and success for our students,” said Stephanie Devine, Executive Director of TFA Appalachia. “This moment calls on us to radically reimagine our K-12 education system to not only increase long term opportunities for all students but to also position Eastern Kentucky as a national proof point of how rural educational ecosystem improvement can be scaled nationwide.” 

With a $175,000 grant provided by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, TFA Appalachia will serve as the lead between 7 other partner organizations working to move the region closer towards its 10 year goal of doubling the number students from Central Appalachia communities who achieve post secondary readiness and success by 2030. Additionally, the grant provides TFA Appalachia with the opportunity to  test online credentialing programs as well as bring in regional leaders from higher education and business sectors to coalesce around case studies and data-based analysis of student progress with the aim of creating rapid educational improvement.  

In a six-month design sprint, Teach For America Appalachia will collaborate and learn from fellow grantees to find practical solutions to the barriers that currently limit these opportunities from being available to all students. This sprint includes technical assistance and individualized coaching from community-based organizations that can help strengthen partnerships across K-12, higher education, local employers, and youth-serving organizations and ensure that students are heard and centered in this work. 

The aim of the Accelerate ED initiative is to create exemplars showing that with clear commitment, strong partnerships and aligned supports, all students can successfully navigate transitions from high school to college to work.

The Teach For America Appalachia design team is led by the region’s Executive Director Stephanie Devine and is a partnership with Prosper Appalachia, The Thompson Scholars, the Floyd County School of Innovation, Harlan Independent Schools, Big Sandy Community and Technical College, the Foundation for Appalachian Kentucky and Wiley K-12 Publishing. “Each of these partner organizations and institutions are exemplary in their approach to innovation, and deep belief in the students and communities of our region,” said Devine. “We’re truly honored to lock arms with them in pursuit of our 2030 goal.”

About Teach For America Appalachia

Founded in 2011, Teach For America Appalachia has placed over 175 teachers in schools across rural Eastern KY, and partners with our 300+ member alumni network across Kentucky, West Virginia, Southwest Virginia and Northeast Tennessee. Stephanie Devine has served as the Executive Director of Teach For America Appalachia since 2019, and previously spent five years as a teacher coach and program director on the regional team. Stephanie holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree in education, with a focus on special education and differentiated curriculum and instruction. 

About Teach For America

Teach For America works in partnership with 350 urban and rural communities across the country to expand educational opportunity for children. Founded in 1990, Teach For America recruits and develops a diverse corps of outstanding leaders who make an initial two-year commitment to teach in high-need schools and become lifelong leaders in the effort to end educational inequity. Today, Teach For America is a force of over 64,000 alumni and corps members working in over 9,000 schools nationwide in pursuit of profound systemic change. From classrooms to districts to state houses across America, they are reimagining education to realize the day when every child has an equal opportunity to learn, lead, thrive, and co-create a future filled with possibility. Teach For America is a proud member of the AmeriCorps national service network. For more information, visit and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.


Reshma Melwani

(949) 294 - 9459

Teach For America