McPherson declines to pursue specialized certificate

By Chris Swick
August 25, 2015

McPherson USD 418 will not be the first in the the state of Kansas to test a new pilot program on the licensing of teachers, despite reports to the contrary late last week.

McPherson Director of Instruction Angie McDonald reported to the 418 Board of Education Monday evening that an alternate path had been found to allow McPherson High chemistry teacher Caitlin Sheedy to receive her full license.

“She has the opportunity, if we have her teaching biology, which is her true profession,” McDonald said, “if we have her teaching one section of biology, they will provide her a teaching license.”

McDonald said Sheedy will take over a biology class at semester, which she admitted will cause some disruptions.

“Because another teacher has to give up a class and switch with Caitlin and then it adds another prep for Caitlin,” McDonald said. “She'll be teaching four preps and that's difficult, but she gets a license out of the deal and doesn't have to go through the controversy and the news media and all that.”

The Topeka Capital-Journal had reported Thursday that USD 418 would seek a specialized certificate for Sheedy, who received her teaching license originally in a special program in Arizona that allowed her to translate her biologist career into the classroom. Kansas had allowed her a biology license, but she has had to teach chemistry at MHS. The state licensure board had initially said it would only grant Sheedy the chemistry license if she jumped through a number of extra hoops, leading the district to consider the specialized certificate.