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VWSD collaborates with William Carey University to “Grow Your Own” educators



WCU Executive Vice President Dr. Ben Burnett (via VWSD live video)

Executive Vice President of William Carey University, Dr. Ben Burnett, visited Vicksburg-Warren School District Wednesday to formally sign a partnership agreement enabling students who want to become educators to fast-track their education, careers, and save thousands on tuition costs.

William Carey University launched the “Grow Your Own” program in December of 2020 and already have partnerships with 15 school districts throughout the state.  Developed to help combat the growing teacher shortage, the program gives future educators the opportunity to earn a bachelor’s degree in just three years.  Participants graduate from high school with 12 hours of dual enrollment credits from WCU, then take advantage of an accelerated schedule so that by their second year at WCU, they can begin working as teacher’s assistants in district schools.  Students in the Teacher Academy program at VWSD also receive a $20,000 scholarship to William Carey University.

By working as teacher’s assistants, students are not only gaining valuable classroom experience, but it also allows them to enter the state retirement system much earlier than a traditional education degree program.  WCU also offers a 50% discount on tuition for students that are also working as teacher’s assistants.

“Our relationship with the Vicksburg-Warren School District didn’t just start today,” Dr. Burnett said.  “What we’re here to do today is to celebrate the partnership with the “Grow Your Own” program, because research shows that most people stay within close proximity of where they grow up.”

The partnership with WCU gives Vicksburg-Warren students opportunities for a prosperous future that also allows them to serve and better our community as they join the workforce.

“The ability to change a life in education is the most remarkable thing you could do,” said Superintendent Chad Shealy, who says he wants to help students find careers they are passionate about and provide as many tools and resources as possible to set graduates up for successful a future.  “Selfishly, I want you here,” he added.

To learn more about the program, visit


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