P.O. BOX 2120

February 16, 2001

TO: Division Superintendents
FROM: Jo Lynne DeMary
Superintendent of Public Instruction
SUBJECT: Visiting International Faculty Program

The Department of Education is pleased to provide information on a program designed to increase the pool of qualified teacher applicants. Since 1989, the Visiting International Faculty (VIF) program has been bringing international teachers to selected schools in the United States to serve as classroom teachers and cultural ambassadors from their native countries. Currently, 29 Virginia school divisions have hosted VIF teachers.

VIF is officially recognized and sponsored by the United States Information Agency (USIA). VIF currently hosts more than 1,200 international teachers in eight states, including Virginia. VIF teachers represent more than two dozen countries and teach subjects such as foreign languages, English as a Second Language, mathematics, science, special education, and elementary education. In the academic year 1999-2000, host schools asked 98 percent of their VIF teachers to return to their teaching assignments.

Teachers receive visas that allow them to teach in this country for up to three years. The teachers may apply for a teaching license, including the provisional or regular professional license, issued by the Board of Education, or the school board may issue the teachers a three-year local eligibility license. All educators participating in the VIF program have been thoroughly screened to include personal interviews, reference and background checks, verification of academic and personal qualifications, and a careful match between the teacher and the participating school division.

Teachers in the VIF program must have the following credentials and qualifications: baccalaureate degrees or higher, teacher preparation, relevant course work, and English fluency. VIF provides a week-long orientation for all teachers upon their arrival in the United States, in-school visits by professional education consultants, advisors to assist teachers in making the transition to life in the United States, and 24-hour access to staff members in case of emergencies.

The employment of VIF teachers must be completed by the first week in August to ensure teachers’ placement for the 2001-02 school year. Information about this program may be obtained from the VIF website at or by contacting Terri Strange-Boston (, regional director, Mid-Atlantic States, at (804)752-2002.

If you have questions or need additional information about the licensing of individuals from the VIF program, please contact Dr. Thomas A. Elliott (, assistant superintendent of teacher education and licensure, at

(804) 371-2472.