Pathways to Teacher STEM Certification in Texas: A Case for Addressing the Minority Teacher Shortage


  • Shetay Ashford-Hanserd Texas State University
  • Omar S. Lopez Texas State University
  • Catherine Cherrstrom Texas State University
  • Brett L. Lee Texas State University



STEM teacher certification, alternative certification programs, teacher shortage, minoritized teacher shortage, teacher certification


For the United States to remain globally competitive, policymakers, researchers, and administrators emphasize the need for a highly skilled and diverse STEM workforce. As such, the US education system must recruit high-quality, diverse, STEM-certified teachers to improve STEM learning outcomes and career pathways for all students, including historically underrepresented minority students. Increased recruitment and retention of minoritized STEM teachers through alternative certification pathways will dissipate the shortage of qualified STEM teachers. The purpose of this quantitative study was to examine trends in STEM teacher certification by race or ethnicity to address minoritized teacher shortages in Texas, the second largest education authority in the US. The study analyzed 67,629 teacher certification records from the Texas Education Agency’s State Board for Educator Certification. Results revealed disparities in Race or Ethnicity among STEM teachers that could dispel the teacher shortage gap if parity were achieved among White, Hispanic, and Black STEM teachers.

Author Biographies

Shetay Ashford-Hanserd, Texas State University

Shetay Ashford-Hanserd, Ph.D., is an associate professor in the Department of Organization, Workforce, and Leadership Studies at Texas State University. Prior to joining Texas State, Dr. Ashford worked for 13 years in the high technology (i.e., high tech) industry as a Technical Trainer, Consultant, and Global Training Program Manager with Fortune 500 multinational corporations such as General Electric, PricewaterhouseCoopers, and Dell Computers. Her research agenda is divided into three distinct, yet interrelated, research domains: cultural, community, and historical contexts; student success factors and persistence; and culturally-responsive pedagogy, interventions, and evaluation.

Omar S. Lopez, Texas State University

Omar S. López, Ph.D., is an associate professor in the Department of Organizational, Workforce, and Leadership Studies (OWLS) in the College of Applied Arts at Texas State University. His research includes teacher workforce development in STEM fields, teacher preparation accountability, and informal teacher learning.

Catherine Cherrstrom, Texas State University

Cathy Cherrstrom, Ph.D., is an associate professor at Texas State University in the Department of Organization, Workforce, and Leadership Studies. Prior to joining Texas State, she had a career in the financial services industry, most recently as Business Banking Market Executive, leading teams and serving business clients. Her research interests broadly include adult development and transition within the contexts of the workplace and higher education and specifically focus on adult learning, non-traditional students, and prior learning assessment; STEM knowledge and teaching development; and career development and transition.

Brett L. Lee, Texas State University

Brett Lee, Ph.D. is an educator with a background in education and technology.  After completing degrees in Computer Science and Electrical Engineering, Brett worked in New York and Silicon Valley.  During this time, he earned multiple industry certifications.  After relocating to Texas, Brett founded a company providing website design and computer support for non-profits and small businesses.  In 2007, Brett began working as a math tutor and summer program administrator.  Currently, Brett is an adjunct professor and middle school math instructor.  In response to Covid-19 related school closures, Brett co-founded GoMentor, a startup helping mentoring programs connect students and mentors online.


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How to Cite

Ashford-Hanserd, S., Lopez, O., Cherrstrom, C., & Lee, B. (2022). Pathways to Teacher STEM Certification in Texas: A Case for Addressing the Minority Teacher Shortage. Journal of Research in STEM Education, 8(2), 61–78.




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