The pandemic exposed and amplified longstanding challenges within the teaching profession. School districts nationwide continue to struggle with recruitment and retention of effective educators and with diversifying their teaching staff. 

Such big challenges call for big changes. School systems are beginning to reimagine their hiring processes, how they design the job, and how they support recruitment and retention. Some are removing barriers so that a broader range of individuals can staff or support classes, while other school systems are redesigning the role of the educator from an individual contributor to a member of a collaborative teaching team where responsibilities are shared across a larger roster of students.

We are systematically mapping and categorizing these and other strategies that school systems are adopting through a database of systems that we’ve surveyed. We encourage you to explore the database, which can be downloaded and filtered. This page also includes our topline findings and methodology behind the project, as well as reports we’ve produced on this and related topics.




Our current reports on teacher workforce innovation.


This database includes 28 school systems that are working to transform teaching into a more desirable and sustainable profession. Click the button below to download and filter the database.

Our team is currently working on providing additional data manipulations and visualizations, so keep an eye on this page for updates.

about the database PROJECT

As part of our project to map the landscape of what school systems are doing to address various challenges with hiring and retaining teachers, we created this database to identify and share information about school systems that are working to transform teaching into a more desirable and sustainable profession.​

To create this publicly available database, we asked 74 education leaders with expertise in school system workforce strategies to nominate systems that are reimagining how they recruit and/or retain their teaching staff.¹ We then sent each nominated school system a follow-up survey to gather additional information about their practices eight core strategies that we previously identified (see Table 1 under Workforce Strategies).² Among the 86 nominated school systems, 28 filled out the survey and are included in the database. While the database is not representative of all school systems that are working to reimagine the teaching role, it does showcase a subset of systems recognized throughout the field as planning, piloting, or implementing innovative strategies to improve how they recruit and retain educators. 

¹ We invited 74 education leaders, journalists, and practitioners who have expertise in the field of district and charter public school innovation. Leaders were invited to nominate school systems that they knew were planning, piloting, or implementing strategies to reimagine the teacher workforce.
² We identified these eight core strategies through media and literature reviews, as well as conversations with over a dozen organizations, including ASU MLFTC Next Education Workforce, ERS, Opportunity Culture, Leading Educators, TeachPlus, Transcend, Teach for America, EdFirst, Learning Accelerator, New America, Empower Schools,, Educators 4 Excellence, Empowered Schools, BEST NC, and Charter School Growth Fund.

Currently, there are 28 school systems in the database. The systems represent a range of local and regulatory contexts, but most are traditional, urban, mid-sized districts (see Figures 1-3). We hope to grow the size of the database through a second round of data collection in fall 2023. 

Figure 1: Types of systems in the Reimagining the Educator Workforce Database.
Figure 2: Urbanicity of systems in the Reimagining the Educator Workforce Database.
Figure 3: Number of students enrolled in SY 2021-22 in the Reimagining the Educator Workforce Database

Half of the school systems are in right to work states—where teachers are not compelled to join a union as a condition of employment–and half are not (see column E in the database). Figure 4 shows the race and ethnicity of the systems’ leadership and staff. Generally, the school systems’ teachers are predominantly white, with a significant minority of leaders and teachers of color. 

Figure 4: Diversity of teaching staff in the Reimagining the Educator Workforce Database
workforce strategies

We asked school systems to identify which of these eight core strategies they were planning, piloting, or implementing to address workforce challenges. School systems could identify more than one strategy.

Table 1: Top workforce strategies
Category Reimagined strategies
Redesigned schedules and workload School system allows all or a subset of schools to flex time/ scheduling/ responsibilities.
Redefined educator requirements School system removes barriers so that a broader range of individuals can staff or support classes.
Collaborative teaching School system redesigns the role of the educator from individual contributor to member of a collaborative teaching team with teachers/ paraprofessionals/ resident and specialized teachers dividing responsibilities across a larger roster of students.
Intentional teacher recruitment program School system intentionally recruits a broad range of teachers and other educator candidates (e.g. candidates of color or bilingual candidates) and/or trains educators in new ways of teaching.
New teacher leadership roles School system provides system-wide educator leadership opportunities that allow teachers to grow in their careers without leaving instruction.
Differentiated and personalized development for teachers and other educators School system provides system-wide differentiated teacher and educator development opportunities and programs that support leadership development and teachers’ daily work and personal growth.
Investment in staff well-being School system intentionally supports school leadership and staff to lead strategies that support staff well-being/ inclusivity/ autonomy.
Compensation strategies School system offers more money to current and new staff in alignment with additional responsibilities or performance that help achieve organizational goals.

 As Figure 5 shows, “Intentional Pipeline”was the most common strategy named, with 20 school systems identifying it as a strategy in place. This echoes our findings from an earlier brief that examines the workforce strategies of 100 large and urban school systems. 16 school systems also report using “New Educator Leadership Roles.” This is a newer strategy, as roughly half of the systems report that they are in the planning or piloting stages. 

Figure 5: Phases of workforce strategy implementation in the Reimagining the Educator Workforce Database
stacking workforce strategies

Employing more than one strategy to address teacher workforce challenges, or “stacking,” was also common: twenty-three systems reported planning, piloting, or implementing more than one strategy, 4.1 strategies on average.³ Compensation strategies are most commonly combined with other strategies. In these twenty-three systems, the most common pairs are⁴:


  • intentional pipeline + new educator roles: 12 school systems
  • intentional pipeline + staff well-being: 11 school systems
  • compensation + staff well-being: 11 school systems
  • compensation + collaborative teaching: 11 school systems
  • compensation + new educator roles: 11 school systems
Figure 6: Most common pairs of strategies that school systems report “stacking” in the Reimagining the Educator Workforce Database

³ Five systems reported implementing only one strategy. Three of these systems reported implementing intentional pipeline programs, one reported implementing collaborative teaching, and the final system reported implementing differentiated and personalized educator development.

⁴ We identified the most common pairs of strategies by calculating how many systems reported planning, piloting, or implementing all possible combinations of strategies, and report the five most common combinations. For example, twelve systems reported using both intentional pipeline programs and new educator roles


We asked school systems which challenges they wanted to address with their strategies. Nearly all systems reported trying to address recruitment-related problems, such as filling positions or finding higher quality teachers; nearly half of the systems reported wanted to address retention-related problems (see Figure 7). Most, but not all, school systems reported that the strategies they implemented were “very effective” or “extremely effective” in addressing their workforce challenges (see Figure 8).

Figure 7: Challenges that systems aimed to address with workforce strategies
Figure 8: How well systems think their strategies addressed challenges
This dataset represents an important first step in mapping the landscape of how school systems are working to reimagine their teacher workforces. Our ongoing goals for this project are:

  • Growing the size of the database through a second administration in Winter 2024.
  • Gathering more details on how the systems are designing and adapting each of the eight core strategies.
  • Tracking how the most commonly-reported strategies change over time, and if/how other strategies become more common.
  • Delving deeper into how school systems select strategies, as well as investigating how and why school systems stack multiple strategies.
  • Examining whether school systems find specific strategies to be more or less effective in resolving different problems.

In Fall 2023, two more reports on this project will be released. The first report will examine what it’s like to be a teacher working in a redesigned school system. The second report will be an analysis of how school leaders view their work in leading workforce redesign efforts, as well as how they overcome various barriers while doing so.


Other reports and publications related to our research in workforce innovation.


We wish to extend special thanks to the Joyce Foundation for supporting this project.

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