Date of Award

Summer 2023

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Committee Chair

Shelly West


The Grow Your Own Teacher (GYOT) program addresses the shortage of qualified teachers by recruiting and training community residents to become qualified teachers. These programs look and feel like community-building strategies instead of teacher pipeline strategies. The GYOT initiative is not new, but the mainstream absorption of the GYOT initiative presents an exciting opportunity to link education policy and neighborhood revitalization more closely. The purpose of this qualitative study was to explore the perceptions of paraprofessionals on the GYOT program in three rural school districts in eastern North Carolina. The conceptual framework was based on Yosso's (2005) Cultural Wealth Model, which is shaped to understand better how a program, school, college, or other institution can promote each specific type of capital. Data were collected from individual interviews with 10 experienced paraprofessionals. Data analysis involved open coding and categorization to identify patterns and themes. Results revealed that juggling daily school duties and attending classes afterward is challenging. Results also revealed that participants overwhelmingly mentioned the need for financial assistance for teachers in this program. Further results indicated that it would be useful to provide teachers with adequate training specific to diversion and inclusion to learn new teaching strategies to improve the quality of instruction. This study emphasized that paraprofessionals are essential to teaching students with disabilities, language barriers, and other needs in the learning environment; therefore, support is critical.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License