National University to Offer Teacher Education Programs in Contra Costa County Through Partnership with John F. Kennedy University

The institutions — both part of the National University System — are addressing a region-wide need for more special education and elementary and secondary teachers

Pleasant Hill, Calif. – To help meet a need to prepare qualified teachers for unfilled teaching positions in Contra Costa County, the National University Sanford College of Education will expand its offerings to the John F. Kennedy campus in Pleasant Hill, following the approval this month from the WASC Senior College and University Commission. National University and JFK University are part of the National University System, a group of nonprofit universities and education-related affiliates dedicated to providing education programs aligned with workforce and regional needs. The partnership reflects the strategic plans of both universities, which strive to create academic pathways to address the needs of communities by preparing students to effectively contribute to positive change in the region.

The collaboration, which has been developed in coordination with the region’s superintendents, creates new professional pathways for teachers by allowing National University to offer at the JFK University Pleasant Hill campus two master’s degree programs:  a Master of Science degree in special education and a Master of Education in teaching degree (multiple-subject credential). Both programs will be led by full-time faculty from National University, Sanford College of Education, which prepares more teachers for credentials than any other university in the state of California.

“The National University System is fulfilling its strategic mission in identifying innovative educational collaborations that put students first while meeting critical needs in the regions we serve,” said Dr. Michael R. Cunningham, Chancellor of the National University System. “We are very pleased to offer, through this unique partnership, unparalleled access to National University’s quality teaching programs at JFK University that support the great work of educators in Contra Costa County.”

The teacher credentialing effort was developed over a year-long period in coordination with the region’s superintendents and PreK-12 educators and has received significant support from former Contra Costa County superintendent Joseph Ovick, who chaired the advisory board.  The new degree programs expand the educational options available through the JFK University campuses, which have a tradition supporting the needs of communities by preparing students to effectively contribute to positive change. JFK University is known for its established undergraduate and graduate psychology programs, community-focused counseling centers, and its law school.

In addition to opening up new opportunities for educators throughout the region to enroll in the National University programs, students at John F. Kennedy University will also benefit from the accessibility of the programs and through the agreement. National University students and faculty will enjoy shared resources and access to on-site services available at JFK University.

Currently, National University offers on-site courses in the San Francisco Bay region through its San Jose campus, though many of its more than 75 programs are also available online.

“JFK University is dedicated to supporting our region’s workforce needs, and we are pleased to welcome our affiliated university partner National University to our campus. The effort will help meet a critical need in our region to prepare and support the ongoing professional development needs of PreK-12 teachers,” said JFK University President Debra Bean.

The new education degree programs will help local school districts fill a diverse slate of positions that include secondary school (single-subject certification), elementary school (multiple-subject certification), and special education openings, said President Bean. In the future, JFK University will explore launching new credential programs for JFK students such as a Master’s in School Psychology credential, she said.

“National University is pleased to extend its teacher education offerings through this special collaboration with JFK University,” said Dr. David Andrews, President of National University. “Through our Sanford College of Education, we are dedicated to supporting the ongoing professional development and success of teachers in PreK-12 classrooms throughout the Contra Costa County region.”

The Sanford College of Education is among the Top Ten largest schools of education in the country, and its programs have been recognized by The National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE), after meeting the organization’s rigorous, evidence-based standards for teacher education programs nationwide.

To learn more about the current National University Sanford College of Education offerings available at the JFK University Pleasant Hill campus, please call: (408) 236-1100.

About National University
Founded in 1971, National University is the second-largest private, nonprofit institution of higher education in California. With more than 230,000 alumni, National University is the flagship institution of the National University System. National University is dedicated to making lifelong learning opportunities accessible, challenging, and relevant to a diverse population of students. Four schools and two colleges – the Sanford College of Education; the College of Letters and Sciences; the School of Business and Management; the School of Engineering and Computing; the School of Health and Human Services; and the School of Professional Studies – offer more than 75 graduate and undergraduate degrees and 23 teacher credentials. Programs are offered at locations throughout California and across the nation, and are also available online. National University is headquartered in La Jolla, California. To learn more, visit

About JFK University
For over 50 years, John F. Kennedy University, a nonprofit affiliate of the National University System, has offered undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral programs that prepare individuals for career success while also engaging the student in personal growth through a commitment to service. Today, the University’s three Colleges provide innovative higher education opportunities to 1, 200 professionals who, despite a full range of life responsibilities, are determined to advance their education and improve their future. The Continuing Education division provides professional development education to more than 2,500 individuals per year. A pioneer of education that integrates theory and practice, John F. Kennedy University and its students touch the lives of more than 30,000 people in Bay Area communities every year through their support of outreach centers and public programs. For more information, visit

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