Logo for the Black Educators Initiative

A national effort to recruit, develop and retain Black educators through teacher residencies.

Cynthia Fitz-Wilson is a resident at the Dallas Teacher Residency. She is pictured with her mentor, Chaslyn Reynolds. This picture was taken at Ben Milam Elementary School.

NCTR’s Black Educators Initiative is a response to an urgent and pressing challenge:

Black students who have just one Black teacher in elementary school are more likely to graduate from high school and consider going to college, yet just 7 percent of public school teachers are Black. As the nation’s students become more diverse, teacher residencies are best able to prepare the next generation of teachers.

Roxy Nance is a Resident at the Chicago Public Schools Teacher Residency. This photo was taken at King Elementary School.

NCTR’s Black Educators Initiative will improve student outcomes by increasing student access to effective, Black teachers.

NCTR launched the initiative in September 2019 after receiving a five-year, $20-million grant from the Ballmer Group to recruit, develop, and retain 750 new Black teachers through our national Network of teacher residency partners.

This funding allows NCTR to invest in residency programs that are improving diversity through new and innovative strategies.

This collective learning informs new research and support for all of NCTR’s Network partners, and it helps the teacher preparation field better understand how to prepare a diverse and effective teacher workforce.

NCTR is excited to announce our Year 4 cohort of the Black Educators Initiative.

In grant funds have been awarded to 27 teacher residencies for the 2022-2023 academic year
Black educators will be prepared through teacher residencies in NCTR's Network during the five-year initiative
New teacher residencies have joined Year 4 cohort for the 2022-2023 academic year
BEI Investments At a Glance
  • Scholarships, stipends, and other incentive funds to support Black residents’ full participation in essential clinical experiences.
  • Partnerships with organizations like the Black Teacher Project to provide consulting and training for mentors of Black residents.
  • Increased induction support, including job search assistance, alumni networks, and professional development for graduates.
  • Memberships to professional development and networking organizations.
  • Increased mentor stipends to attract experienced, effective teachers as mentors of Black residents.
  • Mental health and social-emotional learning supports, including contracting with Black therapists.

The BEI Difference: 2020-2021 BEI Annual Report

BEI grantees are successfully recruiting, preparing, and supporting Black teachers, as well as positively impacting entire school communities. Grantees are diversifying their respective teaching fields, increasing the absolute number of Black applicants into residency programs, as well as increasing the percentage of residents who identify as Black – while national trends suggest fewer individuals are pursuing teaching overall.

BEI Evaluation by the Center for Public Research and Leadership

The Center for Public Research and Leadership (CPRL) at Columbia University evaluated the early impact of NCTR’s Black Educators Initiative in the fall of 2021 to develop a report that solidifies the growth of BEI-supported residency programs in Year 2, while also providing new findings and a fresh perspective on the importance of financial support in retaining Black teacher residents in the program. 

Recruitment and Retention of Black Educators

The CPRL-developed report, titled “Recruitment and Retention of Black Educators: Promising Strategies at Eight U.S. Teacher Residencies,” examines data from NCTR’s BEI-supported teacher residency programs, such as enrollment and demographics, as well as data from 16 focus groups of Black teacher residents receiving direct support from NCTR’s BEI and conducted 23 interviews with program staff and stakeholders at BEI programs to identify leading indicators of effectiveness. 

The eight teacher residency programs that took part in the evaluation are located in the West, Midwest, Southeast and Northeast portions of the United States. Pseudonyms have been used in place of participant and residency names to protect the identity of the participants.