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Diversifying the Teaching Profession: Strategies for Success

A 2024 AACTE Session Recap and Reflection

The session “Diversifying the Teaching Profession: Strategies for Success” provided invaluable insights into evaluating, reimagining, and implementing supportive models for diversifying the teaching profession. The presenters reflected and provided various perspectives to emphasize the importance of having a diverse teaching workforce to support culturally and linguistically diverse students across the United States. Key highlights from the presentation include the importance of providing high-quality instruction for our students, which begins with teachers, leaders, and districts nationwide through excellent lines of work in teacher preparation, professional learning, education policy, and diversity, equity, and inclusion by explaining local and national strategies to diversify the teaching profession.

In this session, the discussion centered on the need to diversify the teaching profession locally and nationally. More specifically, the focus was on the innovative work being done by The Public Education Business Coalition (PEBC) in Colorado, which has a proven track record of successfully reaching and attracting a diverse pool of potential educators across the United States. With a national reach, the PEBC is leading the charge in promoting high-quality instruction by collaborating with teachers, leaders, and districts nationwide. Their work spans various areas, including teacher preparation, professional learning, education policy, diversity, equity, and inclusion. By leveraging their expertise in these areas, the PEBC is helping to create a more inclusive and equitable teaching profession that better reflects the diverse student population in our schools.

Key Takeaways

As an educator, I found this session timely and critical, especially as we continue to see our school become more diverse. Diversifying our teacher population will not only ensure that we provide our sunset with culturally responsive educators, but it will also ensure that our diverse students have role models of professionals who look like them and who often share similar stories as the students they teach (Bristol & Martín-Fernández, 2019). The former Commissioner of Education in Colorado emphasized the long-standing issue of teacher shortages and lack of diversity. State reports highlighted the importance of diversifying the teacher workforce and identified strategies, including monetary support, mentorship, and reducing the cost of teacher preparation.

The presenters in this session reported various key points based on a recent report on diverse student recruitment and teacher preparation programs, in which financial incentives were found to impact recruitment efforts significantly. The speakers emphasized that offering financial incentives can attract a more diverse teacher population, ultimately positively impacting recruitment outcomes. Additionally, the session’s moderator explained that the report found that teacher preparation programs that intentionally embed cultural and inclusive practices can significantly increase the enrollment of diverse candidates.

Having an intentional focus resulted in a remarkable 69% of residents in their network member programs identifying as individuals from diverse backgrounds in the 2022-2023 report, which is significantly higher than the national average of 21%. The report also revealed that retention rates for black teacher residents were the highest across all racial and ethnic groups, indicating that targeted efforts in recruitment and teacher preparation can lead to better-retained educators. Finally, the report highlighted the positive reputation of the PEBC residency program in Colorado, which is known for offering high-quality teacher residencies that contribute to better-prepared and longer-retained educators. Overall, this session underscored the importance of targeted efforts in recruitment and teacher preparation, which can lead to more diverse, better-prepared, and better-retained educators.

Implications and Future Directions

Based on this session, it is essential to consider the potential implications for the future. For example, the session emphasized the importance of having educators from diverse backgrounds to diversify the education system and to support culturally and linguistically diverse learners. The successful strategies employed by PEBC in Colorado demonstrated the potential impact of financial incentives and cultural practices in teacher preparation programs. It is essential to replicate these successful models nationwide to attract and retain more diverse, better-prepared, and better-trained educators. The urgent need to address persistent teacher shortages highlights the need for multifaceted strategies, including targeted recruitment, financial incentives, and cultural practices in preparation programs (Ingersoll, 2003). In addition, the session emphasized the importance of high-quality residency programs, which have been shown to be effective in improving retention rates for black teacher residents. These programs can and should be replicated and scaled nationally to ensure that more teachers from diverse backgrounds are supported in their preparation and development (Rafa & Roberts, 2020).

Furthermore, the session highlighted the need for ongoing research to understand further the factors contributing to successful teacher recruitment and retention, particularly for minority teachers. This research can inform the design and implementation of effective policies and practices to address teacher shortages and create a more diverse and inclusive teaching profession (Easley II, 2023). The session has resoundingly underscored the pressing need to confront enduring teacher shortages and propel the advancement of a teaching profession that is both more diverse and inclusively representative of our culturally and linguistically diverse learners. The proven efficacy of strategies implemented by PEBC in Colorado stands as a beacon, offering a compelling blueprint for states across the nation to adopt and expand upon supporting our education system from a top-bottom approach.


Mayra Marquez-Mendez is a third-year Ph.D. educational psychology student and Holmes Scholar at the University of Nevada Las Vegas. Her research focuses on the support-seeking behaviors of science teachers through mentorship and a self-determination theory lens.

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