November 17, 2023

The Mayville State University Division of Education will host a Comet Today, Teacher Tomorrow kickoff event Monday, Nov. 20 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. in room 118 of the Education Building at Mayville State. The event will celebrate the students who have been accepted to pursue Bachelor of Science in Education degrees at Mayville State with the help of the Paraprofessional-to-Teacher Pathway initiative being offered by the North Dakota Department of Public Instruction (NDDPI).

In this initiative, NDDPI is offering scholarships to cover tuition costs (up to $20,000) for paraprofessionals who already working in North Dakota schools and wish to become licensed teachers. The Paraprofessional-to-Teacher Pathway offers an innovative and effective way to address the critical shortage of teaching professionals in the state. Many of these individuals already have some education credits, which allows them to “fast track” through a program.

Paraprofessionals serve in support roles ranging from teaching assistants and special education aides to school library technical assistants and tutors. Because paraprofessionals are already familiar with the North Dakota K-12 public education, they are a natural choice to help address the teacher shortage in the state. Through their work, paraprofessionals work directly with students and are supported by mentor teachers and administrators. They have built professional relationships and proven they are capable of helping students succeed.

To qualify for the NDDPI tuition scholarship, individuals must already be working as paraprofessionals in North Dakota school districts. This program helps support the issue of teacher retention in North Dakota because it allows aspiring educators to continue working in their schools while supporting their families and earning teaching licensure. Because many paraprofessionals live in the same community in which they work, it is likely they will stay within the school district.

The Comet Today, Teacher Tomorrow program is Mayville State’s response to leveraging the power of the Paraprofessional-to-Teacher initiative and assisting with North Dakota’s workforce needs, specifically the need for teachers. All courses are offered online or hybrid and taught by Mayville State faculty. Methods classes are delivered synchronously via Zoom. Up to 30 credits of previous life experience may be awarded to aspiring educators. Many courses have low or no cost textbooks.

“Mayville State has been a leader in educating future teachers since the institution’s founding as a state normal school in 1889,” said Mayville State University Dean and Chair of the Division of Education Dr. Pam Johnson. “It is our privilege to assist our state with the need for highly qualified teachers. The quality of our programs combined with our legendary brand of personal service results in extremely successful graduates who are making a positive difference for students in K-12 schools. We are honored to serve in this important role.”

“We look forward to celebrating with our aspiring educators at the Comet Today, Teacher Tomorrow event on Nov. 20,” said Associate Professor Education and CAEP Accreditation Coordinator Dr. Brittany Hagen. “It’s a big deal for these paraprofessionals to make the commitment to earning their bachelor’s degrees. It will be fantastic to acknowledge this milestone with them and connect with the students with whom we’ll be working. Also, we have exciting news to share and look forward to making an important announcement at the event!”

“I commend the faculty and staff of the Division of Education for their innovative and creative work to help Mayville State assist with the workforce needs of the state of North Dakota,” said Mayville State University President Dr. Brian Van Horn. “These are professionals who truly care about their students and their success. They personify Mayville State’s motto, ‘The School of Personal Service,’ and provide their students with a quality educational experience. It’s a win-win for the students and the people of our state.”

There are still tuition scholarships available for the spring semester. Learn more at or reach out to Dr. Pam Johnson, Dean and Chair of the Division of Education at