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ACU, Region 4 Education Service Center Partner to Grow the Teacher Talent Pipeline in Houston

Abilene Christian University is proud to announce a new partnership with Region 4 Education Service Center (Region 4) to offer fully online degree programs and professional development pathways for aspiring educators and teaching professionals in the Greater Houston area.

In an effort to tackle the teacher shortage across Texas, ACU and Region 4 are establishing innovative pathways for prospective teachers to obtain their teaching certification, undergraduate degree, or graduate degree. This partnership also aims to help upskill the next generation of district leaders by providing unparalleled opportunities to earn graduate degrees and advance their leadership capacities.

“ACU Online and Region 4 are committed to offering practical and effective solutions to aspiring educators. Our collaboration aims to build the pipeline of educators grounded in excellence,” said Dr. Rodney E. Watson, executive director of Region 4.

The partnership is divided into five essential pathways, offering distinct programs for every level, including high school students, paraprofessionals, certified teachers, athletic coaches, and district administrators.

Classroom to Career

In a joint effort between Region 4, Lamar Institute of Technology, and ACU, this program connects motivated high school students interested in a career in education with mentor faculty members to earn dual-credit amounting to an associate’s degree. This will enable them to enter their school’s talent pool of qualified instructional aides upon high school graduation. Students will have the opportunity to work as certified instructors within their district and be offered guaranteed admission, with reduced tuition rates, into ACU’s online Bachelor of Science in Integrated Studies program. This prepares them to become fully licensed teachers in their home district as soon as two years after high school graduation.

Level Up 

Dedicated to improving the quality of instruction at schools in Region 4, this program provides existing paraprofessionals the opportunity to earn their undergraduate degree and teaching certification through co-enrollment in ACU’s online Bachelor of Science in Integrated Studies program and in Region 4’s Educator Certificate Program.

Advancing Teachers

 As modern classrooms become more diverse and technologically advanced, the need for qualified teachers grows. ACU’s online Master of Education in Instruction and Learning program allows current educators to improve their craft by becoming master teachers capable of increasing learning for their students and peers. By equipping teachers to handle the growing diversity of today’s classrooms, they are able to advance their careers into administrator positions. 

Doctor of Education Program for Leaders

 ACU’s online Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership and Doctor of Education in Organizational Leadership programs will equip Region 4 educators to serve others by providing opportunities to excel in strategic leadership, human organization, and collaboration to make a difference in their schools and communities. These programs enhance each educator’s gifts and talents through reflective practice and seek to guide individuals toward finding the personal meaning and purpose behind their work with students and staff.

Elevating Coaches

 ACU’s online Master of Science in Sports Leadership is designed to develop the leadership skills and strategic thinking required for success in sports management. It prepares professionals to excel in coaching roles and athletic administration by focusing on effective team leadership, ethical decision-making, and organizational management.

“Through our innovative partnership with Region 4, we are connecting career goals with each individual’s current strengths and aspirations,” said Jessica Manning, chief enrollment and partnerships officer for ACU’s Dallas campus. “Our customized online programs provide unparalleled opportunities for every level of aspiring and current educators to further their education to better serve their district. This partnership is just the beginning of how ACU will go beyond the role of offering innovative online classes and expand into an advocacy role for qualified teachers across the state.”

ACU’s online programs are administered through its branch location in Dallas and include 14 bachelor’s degrees, 16 master’s degrees, three doctoral degrees, five undergraduate certificate programs, and ten graduate certificate programs. For more about Region 4 programs offered through ACU Online, visit

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