Holmes Center for School Partnerships and Educator Preparation

Director of School Partnerships and Educator Preparation: Mary E. Earick

Coordinator of Clinical Experiences and School Partnerships, Holmes Center: Brian Walker

Program Support Assistant, Holmes Center: Valerie Comeau-Palmer

Council for Educator Preparation (CEP) Program Coordinators and Contact Information

Program Coordinator Level Email
Early Childhood Studies Elisabeth P. Johnston UG epjohnston@plymouth.edu
Educational Leadership, Learning and Curriculum Chris Benedetti GRAD, EdD cjbenedetti@plymouth.edu
Elementary Education Susan Sabella UG jsrino@plymouth.edu
English as a Second Language James C. Whiting UG, GRAD jcwhiting@plymouth.edu
English/Language Arts Meg J. Petersen UG, GRAD megp@plymouth.edu
Mathematics 5-8, 7-12 Shawn M. Hackshaw UG, GRAD s_hackshaw@plymouth.edu
Music Holly E. Oliver UG, GRAD heoliver@plymouth.edu
Physical Education Lynn Johnson UG, GRAD lvjohnson@plymouth.edu
Physical Education and Health Irene Cucina UG, GRAD icucina@plymouth.edu
Social Studies Brandon Haas UG bjhaas@plymouth.edu
Special Education Ann Berry GRAD abberry@plymouth.edu
Special ED Administrator Marcel Lebrun GRAD mrlebrun@plymouth.edu
Superintendent Linda Carrier GRAD llcarrier@plymouth.edu
Visual Arts Jason A. Swift UG, GRAD jaswift2@plymouth.edu


The educator preparation programs at Plymouth State University strive to develop visionary educators who will take the lead in transforming education in the state, the region, and the nation to better serve all students and their families. Our vision is rooted in Plymouth State’s tradition of service, emphasized in the University motto, Ut prosim—That I may serve. At the same time, we seek to anticipate and respond to changing demographics and societal expectations by reaching into communities with programs that will educate and inspire. Through collaborations with area schools and community organizations, we aim to emphasize our shared commitment to the education and well-being of all students. Above all, we endeavor to prepare competent and caring educators who exemplify the qualities of Commitment, Service, Vision, and Leadership, and who, in turn, will cultivate these qualities in the students they teach.


Plymouth State carries on a longstanding commitment to serve communities, the state, and the region, by preparing thoughtful, reflective educators who envision a better future for all students and willingly accept the responsibilities and challenges of leadership. Beyond the initial certification level, the University offers programs in a variety of educational specialties, which provide educational professionals with opportunities to enhance their personal and professional growth and development. The Council of Educator Preparation builds on the University’s mission to provide learning experiences that promote understanding and respect for all people and to foster the constructive, open-minded discourse that is so necessary in a democracy.

Conceptual Framework

The conceptual framework for teacher education at Plymouth State University is a shared set of beliefs and attitudes that serves as the foundation for each teacher education program. The framework clearly identifies for faculty, staff, and students the core values that we share as a community. These core values—Commitment, Holism, Experience, Collaboration, and Knowledge—are meaningfully integrated into all teacher education coursework, service learning, and practice teaching experiences. In brief, the underlying assumptions of the conceptual framework are as follows:


We define commitment as dedication, perseverance, and individual and social responsibility. Our candidates are committed to lifelong learning and to increasing self-knowledge. They are committed to the beliefs that all students can learn and that education has the power to transform individuals and the greater society. Our teacher candidates recognize the responsibility of educators to take a thoughtful and critical stance toward themselves and their profession.


Our holism perspective involves affirming diversity and understanding the “whole child” within the family, community, and cultural context. It includes working toward an integrated curriculum and recognizing how we as educators are shaped by our own experiences and culture. This holistic perspective shapes our larger vision.


Experience allows us to put theory into practice. We provide opportunities for experiential learning that serve communities and schools so that our teacher candidates can do the same for their students. Experience also involves constantly renewing skills and knowledge within one’s discipline.


Collaboration involves working with students, families, and colleagues effectively within the school context toward shared goals, demonstrating respect and openness towards diverse perspectives, and confronting and resolving conflicts effectively and respectfully. Collaboration enhances both teaching and learning, and is an essential part of developing the capacity to lead.


Knowledge refers to understanding the theory, content, methods and materials, and technologies of one’s field, as well as understanding child and adolescent development, learning processes, and student motivation within the familial, community, and cultural contexts in which children grow and learn. Teaching that engages all learners combines a knowledge of students and one’s subjects within the cultural, social, and institutional context.

Diversity Framework for Certification Candidates

In order to teach effectively and ensure student learning in a democratic and pluralistic society, each teacher education candidate at Plymouth State University, by the conclusion of his or her program, will have developed the ability to describe culture as a multifaceted and dynamic construct; critically examine his or her own sociocultural positions and understand the ways in which background and experiences shape one’s view of the world; learn from and about students, families, and communities, and draw on this knowledge to inform instruction; view students and families of diverse backgrounds and abilities in respectful and affirming ways; acquire and extend his or her own multicultural awareness by exploring and learning about the history, experiences, beliefs, and values of others; recognize and challenge biases in him/herself and others, as well as institutional oppression in schools and throughout society; and implement inclusive, culturally responsive teaching practices.

Professional Development Schools and School Districts (PDS)(PDSD)

Schools and school districts wishing to work with PSU interns apply to the Holmes Center to be a Professional Development School or School District. Interns at the undergraduate and advanced certification are co-placed in schools by the Holmes Center and their program coordinators. The assessment and evaluation of interns is completed using a co-teaching and supervision model. Additional information can be reviewed in the Holmes Center Handbook.

Initial Teacher Certification Programs – Undergraduate Degrees

The Educator Preparation programs at Plymouth State University are approved by the New Hampshire Department of Education. The University is a member of the American Association of Colleges of Teacher Education (AACTE). Plymouth State University offers several initial teacher preparation programs at the undergraduate level:

  • Art Education (K-12)
  • Early Childhood Education (PreK-Grade 3)
  • Elementary Education (K-6), (K-8)
  • English Education (5-12)
  • Mathematics Education (5-8)
  • Mathematics Education (7-12)
  • Music Education (K-12)
  • Physical Education (K-12)
  • Social Studies Education (5-12)

Details about each undergraduate program of study are available within the departmental listing of major degree requirements in this catalog.

Candidates may change from one teaching program to another. However, they must satisfy all requirements of the new program, including reapplying for teacher candidacy in the new program. Teacher candidates who return to the University after a withdrawal must do so under the requirements of the most current academic catalog.

TESOL Certification

Teacher candidates may also earn a Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) certification. For more information, see the TESOL academic minor in the Department of Languages and Linguistics.

Master of Education

K-12 Education in Special Education – one-year intensive program. Students interested in obtaining General Special Education Certification may do so upon completion of their undergraduate Teacher Certification program. Applications to the one-year intensive program must be submitted to Admissions by April 15 of that year. Students interested in pursuing this program must be accepted into the program following a completed application package, a formal interview process, and a final acceptance by Admissions. Further information can be found on the University website or by calling Coordinator of Special Education Ann Berry at (603) 535-2913 or via e-mail at abberry@plymouth.edu

Clinical Experiences

All departmental programs require early and continual professional clinical experiences in schools, culminating in an Internship in Teaching. In order for teacher candidates to participate in clinical experiences in diverse settings that are essential for their development as teachers and required for accreditation, teacher candidates must be willing and able to travel outside of the Plymouth area beyond walking distances. All Internship in Teaching candidates should plan for and be able to secure their own transportation by the junior year.

Additional Coursework during an Internship

Enrolling in additional courses during an internship in teaching is highly discouraged; however, candidates who wish to take a course during their internship must obtain permission from the coordinator of internships and their program coordinator. Overload regulations regarding eligibility and fees apply to candidates carrying more than a total of 17 credit hours in the internship semester; see Overload Fees in the Tuition and Fees section.

Certification Programs, Educator and Specialist – Advanced Degrees

Plymouth State University offers educator certification/endorsements in the areas of secondary (5–12 or 7–12) and K–12 through the educator and specialist certification programs.

Educator certification programs require a minimum of a bachelor’s degree and can be done separately or in conjunction with a master’s degree. Specialist certification programs can be done separately or in conjunction with a master’s degree or a Certificate of Advanced Graduate Studies (CAGS). The specialist certification endorsement, however, requires a master’s degree or higher at the time of completion.

Beginning as early as the first year, teacher candidates have many opportunities to teach and learn in elementary, middle, and high school settings. This experience culminates in an intensive internship in the area of certification.

PSU’s educator and specialist certification programs are approved by the New Hampshire Department of Education. The University is a member of the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE).

Educator and specialist certification program graduates are eligible for recommendation to become a New Hampshire Department of Education certified teacher. Since New Hampshire is a member of the Interstate Certification Compact, PSU graduates are also eligible to transfer their New Hampshire certification to most states by applying to the respective state’s department of education.

Teacher candidates typically complete certification requirements over a two- or three-year period; the requirements may be completed in less time depending on previous academic preparation and the number of courses taken per term. Teacher candidates meet with assigned advisors as they enter the program and on a regular basis to review progress toward their certification requirements. A curriculum planning guide, which may consist of undergraduate as well as graduate courses, will be outlined by the advisor with the teacher candidates. Teacher candidates with degrees in areas other than education may be required to take additional courses to meet certification competencies, as described by the State of New Hampshire.

Prior to their culminating experience, students must file paperwork to initiate the Internship or Practicum process, and to confirm their placement(s). Paperwork should be submitted at least one term prior to the anticipated term of the experience. The criteria for admission and monitoring throughout the teacher candidate’s certification program will focus on academic achievement and dispositions. Continual assessment of a teacher candidate’s specific strengths and limitations in these areas will be used to determine continuation in, or removal from, the certification program and the readiness to enter the profession. (See the New Hampshire Department of Education regulations, Ed 604 Admission, Retention, and Evaluation Policies and Practices in Standards and Procedures for Approving Professional Preparation Programs in New Hampshire.)

Those students interested in the educator certification concentration programs not seeking a master’s degree must hold at least a baccalaureate degree in order to qualify for admission. A minimum of six credits in the content area must be taken with PSU faculty members to ensure that the University is satisfied with the content area achievement. Should the student not meet the competencies as set forth by the New Hampshire Department of Education (NHDOE) they may be required to take additional coursework. All students must complete a culminating experience in New Hampshire under the supervision of PSU faculty. The specific culminating experience will be discussed in advance with the student’s advisor and the Center for School Partnerships and Educator Preparation.

The culminating field experience for a single-level endorsement (5–8, 7–12) is typically one semester. The culminating field experience for K–12 certification is typically two eight-week experiences (one at the primary level and one at the secondary level).

Educator Certification Concentrations (Post-Baccalaureate)

  • Art Education, K–12
  • Education Technology Integrator, K–12 (also dual certification option, see Library Media)
  • English Education, 5–12
  • General Special Education, K–12
  • Health Education, K–12
  • Library Media Specialist, K–12 (also dual certification option, see Library Media)
  • Mathematics, 5–8 and 7–12
  • Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL), K–12

Specialist Certification Concentrations (Post-Master’s)

  • Curriculum Administrator, K–12
  • School Counselor, K–12
  • School Principal, K–12
  • School Psychologist, K–12
  • Special Education Administrator, K–12
  • Superintendent (CAGS required), K–12

Road to Teacher Certification

Teacher certification candidates must demonstrate the knowledge, skills, and dispositions required for teacher certification. Programs continually assess teacher candidates’ competencies through a series of “decision points” to determine each candidate’s eligibility to continue in a program on the “Road to Certification.” Students enrolled in teacher preparation programs must submit an application for candidacy by the end of their first year at Plymouth and an internship application at least one year before their internship semester.

Decision Point One: Applying for Teacher Candidacy

  • Candidacy Application
  • Praxis Core Academic Skills Test (or waiver)
  • Two Faculty Evaluations
  • Cumulative GPA of 2.50/3.001

Decision Point Two: Applying for an Internship

  • Internship Application
  • Cumulative Department GPA of 2.50/2.60/2.70/3.001

Decision Point Three: Confirming an Internship Placement

  • Placement Confirmation
  • Interview (if required)
  • Résumé and Work Sample (if required)
  • Cumulative GPA of 2.50/2.70/3.001

Decision Point Four: Becoming Eligible for Certification

  • Observation Reports
  • Mid-term Evaluation
  • Final Evaluations
  • Internship Grade

Interns in programs using the Pass/No Pass grading policy must receive a Pass at the end of the internship in order to be recommended for certification. Interns who are in programs that have a letter grading policy must receive a “C” or better at the end of the internship in order to be recommended for certification.

Candidates who complete all major degree and certification requirements are eligible for recommendation to become a New Hampshire Department of Education certified teacher. Because New Hampshire is a member of the Interstate Certification Contract, Plymouth graduates are eligible for certification in any of the contract states upon application to that state’s education department. However, the applicant must fulfill any additional requirements of the receiving state. Information regarding the Interstate Certification Contract is available at nasdtec.org.

Requirements for certification may change, subject to changes made by the New Hampshire Department of Education. Teacher candidates can find the most current New Hampshire Department of Education standards at education.nh.gov/index.htm. As they near completion of their program, teacher candidates must file a petition to graduate or a petition for certification.

This initiates the audit and certification process. Upon a successful transcript audit a graduate is recommended to the NHDOE for endorsement in their certification concentration. Once recommended, an e-mail with NHDOE certification information is sent to the student with information on how to complete the certification.

Requirements for certification may change, subject to changes made by the NHDOE. Teacher candidates can find the latest NHDOE standards at education.nh.gov/index.htm.

PraxisTM Core Academic Skills for Educators, Foundations of Reading, and Praxis II Exam

Acceptance into a certification program requires candidates to demonstrate basic skills in reading, writing, and mathematics by passing the Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators tests. The NH Department of Education determines the passing scores. Candidates who earned SAT scores at or above the 50th percentile may apply for a waiver from the Praxis Core exam. All candidates who seek New Hampshire certification in Art, Early Childhood Education, Elementary Education, English, Middle School Mathematics, Music, Secondary Mathematics, and Social Studies must demonstrate content knowledge through the Praxis II: Subject Assessments. Information about required exams, exam costs, testing sites, passing scores, and exemptions or waivers are available in the Center for School Partnerships and Educator Preparation or online: ets.org/praxis/nh/requirements and nh.nesinc.com.

Criminal Records Check

All teacher candidates who interact with students in public school settings through course-related field experiences are subject to New Hampshire state legislation that requires a full disclosure criminal records check. This may include fingerprinting. The processing of the criminal records check is conducted at the site school before the clinical experience begins. The fee for this processing is the responsibility of the teacher candidate and is paid directly to the school district. Questions regarding the criminal records check should be directed to the Holmes Center for School Partnerships and Educator Preparation.

Holmes Center for School Partnerships and Educator Preparation

For more information about educator preparation, please visit the Holmes Center of School Partnerships and Educator Preparation.