Wingate Foundation supports teacher education with $3.5 million grant

May 29 - June 4, 2023

By Angelita Faller


The University of Arkansas at Little Rock has received a $3.5 million grant from the Windgate Foundation to endow the directorship of its School of Education. This gift will support the transformation of teacher education at UA Little Rock in its quest to become a premier provider of teachers in the state.


“We are incredibly grateful to the Windgate Foundation for their generous support of this effort,” said Chancellor Christina S. Drale. “High quality teacher education has never been more important. This funding will help us sustain strong leadership for the program and will make possible further investment in innovative teacher preparation at UA Little Rock.”


The Windgate Director of the School of Education will play a direct role in ensuring the School of Education graduates day-one ready teacher candidates. Primary goals will be strengthening partnerships with K-12 schools and state school districts, increasing enrollment, supporting curricular innovation and meaningful assessment, raising awareness of the program, and raising funds to support teacher preparation efforts. 


“We were impressed with the work of Chancellor Drale and the education leadership team in articulating their vision and plan to transform teacher education,” said Pat Forgy, executive director of Windgate Foundation. “These critical improvements will allow UA Little Rock to provide a clear pathway for classroom-ready teachers in Arkansas. It is our honor to support this effort, and we look forward to seeing the impact it will have in the years ahead.” 


“We’re grateful for the support of the Windgate Foundation,” said Dr. Sarah Beth Estes, dean of the UA Little Rock College of Humanities, Arts, Social Sciences, and Education. “They have long been a friend to UA Little Rock and the College of Humanities, Arts, Social Sciences, and Education. Their commitment to improving teacher preparation efforts will not only impact students at UA Little Rock, but it will pay dividends for children in Arkansas for generations to come.” 


Since 2021, UA Little Rock has received more than $550,000 from Forward Arkansas to develop an innovative model focused on reimaging teacher education. The generous support from the Windgate Foundation allows the university to strengthen its transformative work by launching a national search for the first Windgate Director of the School of Education.


“Our faculty have worked incredibly hard to develop an innovative approach to how we approach teacher education and preparation,” said Dean Estes. “The new Windgate Director of the School of Education will play a critical role in expanding that work so that by the time our students graduate they will be fully prepared for a rewarding career that will help build positive learning environments for K-12 students throughout Arkansas schools.”