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All students benefit from the opportunity to learn from teachers of color. For Black students in particular, having a Black teacher contributes to increased learning, fewer suspensions, higher attendance, and better rates of graduation and college-going.

Source: Learning Policy Institute

Within every great school, there are committed educators who are deeply connected to the school’s mission and work. Attracting and hiring these talented teachers is no easy task, and smart school leaders don’t leave recruitment to chance. They start as early as possible in the year, actively cultivating a pool of high-quality candidates from teacher residency programs, schools of education, and informal local teacher networks.

What makes a candidate high quality? Great educators are curious, innovative, and bold. They have a deep knowledge of the content they’re teaching, well-honed instructional skills, high expectations for every one of their students, strong understanding of societal biases and strategies for strengthening equitable teaching, and willingness to learn new things from their students and colleagues.

Some schools create their own teacher training programs, or pipelines, to nurture rising talent and develop a teacher workforce. Innovative strategies are especially important in recruiting a diverse staff, and in areas where qualified teachers are commonly in short supply, including science, math, special education, and English language learning.

Recruitment isn’t the end of the story. Retaining great teachers is ultimately what sustains the coherence and momentum of a school. Research shows that teachers are more likely to leave a school because of adverse working conditions than salaries or benefits. The biggest challenge teachers often mention is the lack of voice in decisions affecting their work.

It is especially critical to be attentive to the particular circumstances of teachers of color and proactive in supporting and opening opportunities for them to grow professionally. Often called on to do special duty (as translators, disciplinarians, and the like)—and less likely to be celebrated or encouraged into leadership roles—these teachers are leaving the profession at higher rates than their peers.

A well-rounded team usually includes counselors, social workers, and nontraditional educators—such as career mentors, youth workers, artists, scientists, and other community members—whose expertise and engagement expand the capacity of a school and enrich student learning.

Dive Deep

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    Recruit and Retain

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Get Teacher Recruitment Worksheet