Fostering inclusivity and high-quality instruction: Strategies for diversifying the educator workforce

As Senate Bill 236, a bill to study teacher incentives and retention, moves through the state legislature, research suggests that the study committee should consider one important factor: increasing educator diversity in New Hampshire. 

Efforts to recruit and retain a diverse educator workforce in New England are in full swing. The New England Secondary School Consortium (NESSC), the Barr Foundation, Great Schools Partnership, Nellie Mae Education Foundation, and others are active in the work, through publishing research and technical assistance, funding programs, or partnering with states and communities to increase educator diversity. 

Research indicates that a racially, ethnically, and linguistically diverse educator workforce increases student success. For students of color, having just one teacher of color between kindergarten and third grade can boost academic achievement, high school graduation rates, and college enrollment rates, according to research by Great Schools Partnership. 

However, New Hampshire students are the least likely in New England to have an educator of color: NH Department of Education data indicate that 86% of New Hampshire students are white, compared to 98% of educators. 

The number and percentage of people of color are growing in New Hampshire, and the trend is being led by our youth. The number of children of color increased by 48% between 2010 and 2020, and they now make up about a fifth of New Hampshire residents under 18. 

“New Hampshire’s growing racial-ethnic diversity, especially among those under age 18, means that youth centered institutions, such as schools and health care providers, have been the first to serve a diverse population. The growing diversity of the state’s youngest residents gives them a greater opportunity to grow up in multiracial and multiethnic communities that will enhance interracial relations, widen friendship networks, and prepare them for life in an increasingly diverse state and nation,” UNH Carsey School Senior Demographer Kenneth Johnson said in a statement about his demographic study of the state. 

Pawn Nitichan, Executive Director of City Year and Board member of Reaching Higher NH, says that her organization is working to recruit more diverse, talented teachers and school administrators for schools with more diverse student populations. 

“One of the things that we can do, based on research, is to ensure that we have greater representations of adults in school,” Nitichan told the New Hampshire Bulletin last fall. “Students do better when they have adults that they can relate to.”

The House Education Committee held a public hearing on SB 236 on Wednesday, April 5, in Room 207 of the Legislative Office Building in Concord. If the bill passes, the study committee will begin its work this summer and will be tasked with assessing the teacher workforce pipeline through 2026 and identifying strategies for recruiting and retaining teachers and attracting diverse educators and educators to work in rural and underserved school districts. They would have until November 1, 2023, to file their report and recommendations. 

There are several opportunities to learn more about the importance of representation in the classroom, New Hampshire’s growing diversity, and teacher recruitment and retention initiatives: 

How Are States Developing a Stronger Teacher Workforce?

Webinar by Education Commission of the States

Wednesday, April 20, 2022

As states contend with ongoing teacher shortage issues, teacher apprenticeships are offering more options for educators to enter the workforce.

Join the Education Commission of the States for their latest Partnering for Success session as they discuss how states are using apprenticeships to build a strong teacher workforce.

Coffee & Conversations: Supporting Growing Diversity in NH Schools

Webinar by the University of New Hampshire Carsey School

Wednesday, May 11, 2022


As NH schools become more diverse in race, gender and more, Andres Mejia, Director of Diversity Equity, Inclusion & Justice, SAU 16, works to ensure that every student feels welcome and  supported. Join them for a talk on the importance of DEI in schools and  how educators can support students at a time when dialogue around diversity & difference is limited.

Teacher Diversity & Student Success

Webinar by The Education Trust and Khan Academy


The Education Trust and Khan Academy co-hosted a virtual roundtable on teacher diversity and its importance for student learning moderated by Sharif El-Mekki, the CEO of The Center for Black Educator Development, and featuring speakers from Latinos for Education and the TN Educators of Color Alliance.

Research has shown that teacher diversity helps close the achievement gap for students of color and improves educational outcomes for all students. Through data-driven and research-based topics, this one-hour virtual roundtable for reporters and advocates will cover why a diverse teacher workforce is key to student achievement and how to support recruitment and retention programs for teachers of color.

Teacher Diversity and Student Success: Why Racial Representation Matters in the Classroom

Webinar by The Brookings Institution


Diversifying the teaching force could be a key step to closing student achievement gaps and moving schools closer to equity goals. In their new book, “Teacher Diversity and Student Success: Why Racial Representation Matters in the Classroom,” Seth Gershenson, Constance Lindsay, and Brookings Senior Fellow Michael Hansen present nuanced policy recommendations to increase teacher diversity in classrooms and promote more inclusive schools.

The authors address the historic and contemporary factors that have kept people of color out of teaching, synthesize the research showing the benefits of same-race teacher exposure, and argue that policies focused on improving teacher quality should take race explicitly into consideration.

On April 19, 2021, the Brown Center for Education Policy at Brookings hosted a webinar to discuss the book and the importance of diversifying the teacher workforce. The authors were joined by policy experts for a conversation on the mechanics behind increasing teacher diversity, policy recommendations to address inequalities, and how the change could benefit generations of students to come.

Filling the Educator Pipeline

Webinar by the National Association of School Boards of Education


Educator shortages and the lack of diversity in the teacher workforce are growing concerns for state leaders across the United States. Earlier this spring, NASBE published an analysis highlighting state efforts in Connecticut, Kentucky, Massachusetts, and North Carolina to increase educator diversity.

The NASBE discussed “filling the educator pipeline” with leaders from two of these states, Connecticut and Kentucky. The group welcomed Dr. Shuana Tucker, Chief Talent Officer at the Connecticut Department of Education, to discuss Connecticut’s efforts to diversify the teacher pipeline and decrease teacher shortages, and Dr. Aimee Green-Webb, Chief of Human Resources at Jefferson County Public Schools in Louisville, Kentucky, who shared how her large urban district was able to improve teacher retention and lessons learned from the experience. Jason Carter, Executive Director of Professional Educator Programs at ETS, reviewed ETS’s research and other efforts aimed at diversifying the teacher workforce.

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