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Dr. Monique Perry-Graves Appointed to Governor Roy Cooper’s North Carolina DRIVE Task Force

Teach For America North Carolina’s Executive Director To Help Improve Equity and Inclusion in Education

By Taylor Myers

May 31, 2022

Dr. Monique Perry Graves 3

RALEIGH—On Wednesday, May 18, 2022 North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper (D-Raleigh) announced a series of appointments to North Carolina boards and commissions. This included appointing Dr. Monique Perry-Graves, Teach For America North Carolina’s Executive Director, to the bipartisan Task Force to Develop a Representative and Inclusive Vision for Education (DRIVE).


Governor Cooper issued Executive Order 113 to establish the DRIVE Task Force in December 2019 to improve equity and inclusion in education. The Task Force is comprised of parents, educators, administrators, education advocates, representatives of state and local government, representatives from the University of North Carolina system and North Carolina Community College System, and employers with a presence in North Carolina. Dr. Perry-Graves was selected as a nonprofit education advocacy organization representative.


Dr. Perry-Graves is an award-winning leader, community college administrator, educator, and speaker. In June 2021, she became the first statewide executive director for Teach For America (TFA) North Carolina. In this role, Dr. Perry-Graves serves as the chief executive for the state in support of TFA’s mission to find, develop, and support a diverse network of leaders working together to end educational inequity. This includes leading a powerful network of 2,000+ TFA teachers and alumni from across the Old North State.


Dr. Perry-Graves expressed gratitude for the opportunity to serve alongside so many inspiring and accomplished leaders to advance educational equity. She said, “Diversifying the teaching profession can improve student success and help address the teacher shortage. That is why I am humbled to join Governor Cooper’s DRIVE Task Force. I am excited to contribute to the next phase of the DRIVE Task Forces’ work, planning, and action, while also learning from my fellow task force members’ perspectives, points of view, and expertise on how we all can do more to improve equity and inclusion in education.”


Teach For America has a rich history of recruiting the nation’s top talent to teach in the schools that are most impacted by educational inequity. This includes over 1,000 graduates of our country’s Historically Black Colleges & Universities (HBCUs) and 4,000 Ivy League graduates.


Teach For America teachers reflect the diversity of the communities where they serve. Across the United States, about 50% of TFA teachers identify as people of color, compared to the national average of 20%. In North Carolina, 52% of TFA teachers identify as white, while 48% of our TFA teachers identify as Black, Indigenous, or a person of color (BIPOC), compared to the state averages of 79% and 21%, respectively. 


When teachers share the background of their students, there is a measurable, positive impact on student achievement. Research demonstrates that teachers of color not only have a better cultural understanding of students of color, but they also hold them to higher expectations, often leading to better academic marks and increased chances of graduating. Moreover, data indicates that learning from a teacher of color benefits all students. Dr. Perry-Graves noted, “Teach For America will continue to partner with lawmakers and other external stakeholders from both sides of the aisle and across the ideological spectrum to advance its vision that one day all children in this nation will have the opportunity to attain an excellent education. I am incredibly grateful to serve on the DRIVE Task Force to help achieve this aim.” 




About Teach For America North Carolina

Teach For America (TFA) came to North Carolina in 1990. Since then, thanks in part to the strong support we have received from the North Carolina state government, we have trained nearly 4,000 teacher leaders in our great state, impacting more than 250,000 students. Each year, we place and support 225+ teacher leaders in 12 school districts and charter school networks across Eastern North Carolina, Charlotte, and the Piedmont Triad. These corps members impact over 19,000 North Carolina public school students each year. Moreover, we regularly work to further develop the leadership of the 2,000+ Teach For America alumni who continue to live, work, and worship across our great state.