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AACTE's roots go back to the 19th century and the nation's normal schools. The first normal schools, teacher training institutions, were formed in the 1830s by education reformers such as Horace Mann to improve the training of teachers for the burgeoning common school system.

AACTE Officially Incorporated in 1948
Charles W. Hunt, president of the Oneonta Teachers College (NY) and secretary of the American Association of Teachers Colleges (AATC), was AACTE's founder. He facilitated the merger of six separate teacher education associations in 1948 and became the new organization's first secretary/treasurer. Hunt is honored each year by a lecture in his name at AACTE's Annual Meeting & Exhibits.

Warren Lovinger was the organization's first staff member while AACTE was housed at Oneonta Teachers College, and he continued to lead the Association until 1952. Edward Pomeroy was recruited to run the organization in 1952 and moved the organization to Washington, DC, in 1959. AACTE's first Washington home was in the National Education Association building, as the organization was at that time a department of the NEA. In 1969, AACTE moved to One Dupont Circle, the National Center for Higher Education, where it stayed until 1998 when it moved offices to its present location at 1307 New York Ave, NW. Pomeroy's contributions are honored by the award for Outstanding Contributions to Teacher Education given each year since 1980, when he retired and David G. Imig took the helm of AACTE. Imig led the Association for 25 years, retiring in 2005, and also is honored by an AACTE award in his name.

In its early years, AACTE was the accrediting body for teacher education. By the early 1950s, AACTE recognized the competing demands placed on it as both an accrediting body and a professional organization. Working with the NEA, the Council of Chief State School Officers, and the National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education Certification, AACTE helped to establish the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) in 1954. AACTE continues to participate in accreditation as a constituent of NCATE.

Professionalization and Reform
The 1983 publishing of the National Commission on Excellence in Education's report, A Nation at Risk, set the tone for the last decades of the 20th century. Policy makers sought significant changes in teacher education. Imig's leadership during this period of tremendous change and pressure to reform placed the professionalization of teaching at the forefront of the Association's agenda. The organization worked to establish a knowledge base for teaching, professional standards, and accountability systems and to diversify the pool of teacher educators and teacher candidates.

New Leadership - Serving Learners
Sharon P. Robinson was named the Association's President and CEO in April 2005. In July 2005, Robinson led the Board, state chapter leaders, and other stakeholders in a strategic planning process at a Leadership Summit held in Denver. As a result of the summit, the organization now is focused on four key strategic outcomes:

  1. Pursuing professional consensus around key issues
  2. Developing a stronger voice in federal and state policy making
  3. Building programs' capacity to prepare educators to reach all children
  4. Increasing the diversity of candidates and improving curricula to ensure that all educators can serve diverse students

For a more complete organizational history, please see AACTE: A History by Edward R. Ducharme and Mary K. Ducharme and Leading a Profession: Defining Moments in the AACTE Agenda, 1980-2005, edited by Susan Cimburek.

Leading a Profession: Defining Moments in the AACTE Agenda, 1980-2005
Leading a Profession

AACTE: A History
AACTE: A History