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Orienting Teach For America to Better Support Our Regions & Network

Monday, March 21, 2016

Teach For America recently set out a new strategic direction focused on three objectives: strengthening our community, pivoting our programmatic model, and rallying the next generation of leaders to join this effort. To reach these objectives, our regions need to continue to adapt and innovate on our model for their unique local contexts, and our national organization needs to move from strong, direct management to facilitating regional learning and innovation. As CEO Elisa Villanueva Beard shared on February 29 with our network, this strategic shift is pointing us toward a leaner, more agile central structure, resulting in the elimination of some roles and the creation of others and a change to how we’re approaching the critical work of diversity and inclusiveness. You can read her full message to corps members and alumni here.

Extraordinarily talented and dedicated people work at Teach For America. Attrition and individual moves into other open roles at TFA should appreciably reduce the number of people who lose their jobs. We project our total national staff size will become about 15 percent smaller. For individuals who do not find their next role with us, we are providing a generous support package, as well as supporting our people in finding roles in our partner organizations. The need for talent is great in the vital work of supporting schools, children, and communities.

Additionally, guided by our strategic direction, we determined that the essential work of diversity and inclusiveness should sit squarely with those closest to and supporting the people who are most directly impacted. Every single staff member will take responsibility for diversity and inclusiveness, rather than having this accountability live in one centralized team. As just one example, the members of our program team who work most closely on corps member preparation and support will own our work on culturally relevant pedagogy.

Reflecting on Teach For America’s 25 years, we spent our first decade establishing ourselves and proving that our model works in classrooms and communities. Over the last decade, we built a robust national organization to help us grow to scale while continuously improving at our core work. Today, our community of more than 50,000 alumni and corps members is our greatest strength, and we need to be set up to leverage both our scale and the diversity of our network to maximize our impact on the movement for educational equity and excellence. The next evolution of Teach For America will develop the unparalleled network of remarkable individual leaders into a connected, thriving community—and harness the power of local innovation to accelerate the progress we’re seeing in public education.