CU Denver partners with Northeastern Junior College to offer early childhood, elementary, and special education teaching degrees

CU Denver partners with Northeastern Junior College to offer early childhood, elementary, and special education teaching degrees.

Jesse Quinlin, Northeastern Junior College
Ryan Huff, CU Denver

March 18, 2022
NJC Student working with child in Early Education Class

DENVER (March 11, 2022) To help curb Colorado’s dire teacher shortage in rural communities, the Colorado Community College System (CCCS) and the University of Colorado Denver (CU Denver) are expanding The Partnership for Rural Educator Preparation (T-PREP) program to Northeastern Junior College (NJC) in Sterling, Colorado. Starting this fall, bachelor’s degrees in early childhood, elementary, and special education may be completed in their entirety without leaving the greater Sterling region.


“I am so proud to be a part of Northeastern Junior College where the faculty and staff understand rural challenges and develop solutions to address them,” said Mike White, President of Northeastern Junior College. “T-PREP is a perfect example where our faculty have built a partnership with CU Denver that will benefit rural communities by supplying qualified teachers, while giving students the flexibility to earn those qualifications without having to move. Given the success of the program in other areas, I am excited about the contributions NJC can make in our region of Colorado.”


“We are thrilled to be partnering with NJC to bring teaching pathways to the northeastern part of the state,” said Barbara Seidl, co-interim dean in CU Denver’s School of Education & Human Development. “We know that these “grow your own" pathways draw from the incredible talent within the communities and that our shared programs prepare teachers who will stay teach and lead across a long career.”


According to the Colorado Department of Education, rural districts and Boards of Cooperative Educational Services had 275 open educator positions in 2020, up from 253 in 2019 and 189 in 2018. This program meets the teacher shortage challenge by preparing students with an education that is rooted in best practices and a strong commitment to working in rural communities. Hands-on learning opportunities are incorporated throughout the program including early field trainings and a full year of teaching experience in a local classroom. T-PREP currently thriving at Trinidad State College and Otero College in La Junta.


Students and family members interested in this teaching program are invited to a free celebration on Thursday, March 24 from 6 – 8 p.m. at ES French Hall Atrium, Northeastern Junior College, 100 College Ave. in Sterling. Dinner will be provided. Faculty members and recruiters will be on hand to explain the program and answer questions. RSVP by March 18 at:


Learn more about the new partnership at:




About Northeastern Junior College

Northeastern Junior College takes pride in offering a wide array of college services, including residence life and student housing opportunities, athletics, and performing arts programming to create an intimate college experience. With practical, hands-on instruction lead by predominately full-time faculty who also serve as advisors to provide a caring, personal and supportive learning environment. Northeastern offers classes at their main campus in Sterling, Colorado and an additional campus in Yuma, Colorado to service students in the five counties of Northeast Colorado. Northeastern has over 60 certificate and degree options for students to explore, as well as guaranteed transfer programs to all four-year public college institutions.


About the University of Colorado Denver

The University of Colorado Denver is the state’s premier public urban research university and equity-serving institution. Globally connected and locally invested, CU Denver partners with future-focused learners and communities to design accessible, relevant, transformative educational experiences for every stage of life and career. Across eight schools and colleges in the heart of downtown Denver, our leading faculty inspires and works alongside students to solve complex challenges through boundary-breaking innovation and impactful research and creative work. As part of the state’s largest university system, CU Denver is a major contributor to the Colorado economy, with 2,000 employees and annual economic impact of $800 million. For more information, visit

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