Dana Schuller, chief administrative officer of SchoolsFirst Federal Credit Union, and Kristin Crellin, vice president of school and community relations at SchoolsFirst Federal Credit Union, present Richard Arum, dean of the UCI School of Education, and Enrique Lavernia, UCI provost and executive vice chancellor, (from left) with a $300,000 check to launch the Teacher Academy.

In celebration of National Teacher Appreciation Day on May 8, the School of Education announced a $300,000 gift from SchoolsFirst Federal Credit Union to launch a K-12 professional development Teacher Academy that will benefit thousands of Southern California educators and the students they serve.

“The Teacher Academy is envisioned as a national model for state-of-the-art teacher training and professional development, as well as effective dissemination of advances in the science of teaching,” said Richard Arum, dean of the School of Education. “Building collaborations with our local schools is a priority, and we are grateful to SchoolsFirst Federal Credit Union for its generous support.”

The university’s current professional development outreach programs – including the UCI Writing Project, UCI History Project, California Reading & Literature Project and Irvine Math Project – will be part of the academy.

Based on input from an advisory board of regional superintendents and principals, the academy will also host a series of workshops and symposiums to provide teachers with new tools and techniques to address current issues affecting local districts, ranging from early interventions for children living in poverty to bilingual education, math proficiency, civics and technology in the classroom.

“Supporting professional development for educators is directly aligned with our organization’s vision,” said Bill Cheney, president and CEO of SchoolsFirst Federal Credit Union. “Educators build the future, and the work they do is incredibly important in shaping the next generation of leaders. We are honored to support the UCI School of Education in preparing teachers for the future.”

The gift provides operational funding for the first three years of the academy, as well as stipends for local public school teachers to participate in the programs.