Nashville, TN—The Tennessee Department of Education announced $4.5 million in Grow Your Own grants has been awarded to establish partnerships between Educator Preparation Providers (EPPs) and local school districts and create innovative pathways to becoming a teacher in Tennessee for free.

This second round of Grow Your Own grants awards 45 grants of $100,000 each to 13 EPPs in Tennessee to form or expand state recognized Grow Your Own partnerships with more than 50 school districts across the state. Building upon the momentum of the initial $2 million investment in the initiative, this latest round of grants from the department significantly expands the Grow Your Own program, totaling a $6.5 million investment in 65 partnerships between 14 EPPs and 63 school districts-- enabling over 650 future educators to become a Tennessee teacher for free. 

"The department is thrilled to see Grow Your Own partnerships flourishing across the state to further boost the state’s teacher talent pipeline to provide all our students with a high-quality education,” said Commissioner Penny Schwinn. “This investment provides individuals with the opportunity to become a teacher for free and will continue to make Tennessee the best state to become and be a teacher. We are excited to continue to see the success of this program impact the state for years to come.” The Grow Your Own competitive grants are designed to foster partnerships between EPPs and districts to provide innovative, no-cost pathways to the teaching profession by increasing EPP enrollment and growing the supply of qualified teachers. These grant funds will remove barriers to the teaching profession by providing funds to entirely cover tuition, textbooks, and fees for all selected participants, while providing dual licensure or initial licensure opportunities with an additional endorsement.

EPP Grant Awardees 

LEA Partners 

Austin Peay State University   

Cheatham County Schools  Clarksville-Montgomery County School System  Dickson County Schools  Hickman County Schools  Robertson County School 

Freed-Hardeman University 

Fayette County Public Schools 

Lincoln Memorial University   

Alcoa City Schools  Anderson County Schools  Blount County Schools  Campbell County Schools  Clinton City Schools  Hamblen County Schools  Hancock County Schools  Hawkins County Schools  Jefferson County Schools  Lenoir City Schools  Knox County Schools  Monroe County Schools  Oak Ridge Schools 

Lipscomb University  

Clarksville-Montgomery County School System  Hamilton County Schools  Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools  Williamson County Schools 

Milligan University 

Elizabethton City Schools 

Middle Tennessee State University 

Murfreesboro City Schools 

Nashville Teacher Residency 

Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools 

Relay Graduate School of Education 

Tennessee Public Charter School Commission  Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools  Shelby County Schools 

Tennessee Technological University   

Clay County Schools  Dekalb County Schools  Hawkins County Schools  Morgan County Schools  Oneida Special School District  Roane County Schools  Union County Schools 

Tennessee State University   

Bedford County Schools  Cheatham County Schools  Clay County Schools  Decatur County Schools  Fayetteville City Schools  Frayser Community Schools  Germantown Municipal Schools  Greeneville City Schools  Marshall County Schools  Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools  Moore County Schools  Purpose Prep Academy  Rutherford County Schools  Shelby County Schools  Sumner County Schools  Tipton County Schools  Williamson County Schools 

Wilson County Schools 

Tusculum University 

Greene County Schools  Hawkins County Schools 

University of Tennessee, Knoxville 

Blount County Schools  Knox County Schools  Monroe County Schools  Shelby County Schools 

University of Tennessee at Martin 

Benton County Schools  Dyer County Schools  Dyersburg City Schools  Haywood County Schools  Lauderdale County Schools  McKenzie Special District  Obion County Schools  Paris Special School District  Weakley County Schools 

District leaders, education preparation program leaders, and education chairmen for the Tennessee General Assembly commented on the importance of this program and grant funding to further support the teaching profession across the state.

“The Grow Your Own Program provides needed support to build a successful educator workforce focusing on our existing talent pool of future teachers,” said Senate Education Committee Chairman Brian Kelsey. “These grants will help prepare incredible teachers, strong schools and connected communities. It is a win-win for Tennessee.”

The department’s Grow Your Own initiative seeks to increase access to and success in the teaching profession as part of the Best for All strategic plan, which sets a vision for Tennessee to be the top state to become and remain a teacher and leader.

Funding for the Grow Your Own competitive grant is available through federal COVID-19 stimulus funding.

To read more about our existing Grow Your Own partnerships in Tennessee and to see a full list of Grow Your Own grant awardees, click here.