Research-based Strategies to Address Teacher Recruitment and Retention

Submitted by SREB, Platinum Sponsor for the Advance CTE 2021 Spring Meeting

The nation’s Career Technical Education (CTE) teacher pipeline is broken, and many states and districts lack access to trusted resources for repairing and expanding it. Last spring, the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) held a convening to address the CTE teacher shortage. While conducting career pathway reviews for districts working on their Comprehensive Local Needs Assessments (CLNA), we’ve found that many districts urgently need help with teacher recruitment and retention. 

The Southern Regional Education Board (SREB) is proud to share a research-based, classroom-tested resource for addressing the teacher workforce challenge: Teaching to Lead (T2L), our fast-track alternative certification program for new and early-career CTE teachers who enter the profession after successful careers in business and industry. 

Initially developed by SREB in partnership with the National Research Center for Career and Technical Education, this research-based effort continues to grow and positively impact the preparation and success of CTE teachers nationwide. Now hosted on Google Suite, T2L receives rave reviews from state, district and school leaders:

  • State CTE leaders in Alabama report that “SREB’s T2L curriculum meets the needs of our new teachers. They worked with us to tailor the delivery of professional development and coaching specifically for the needs of our state.”
  • Principals in Rutherford County, Tennessee, report an amazing difference in the instructional quality of teachers who participate in T2L. “We need all of our CTE teachers to go through Teaching to Lead,” said one principal. 
  • Jodi Adams, Director of the CTE New Teacher Institute at the University of Louisville, reports that Kentucky’s adoption of T2L, “helped us increase our retention of new teachers by almost 30 percent, moving the state from a 64 percent retention rate to over 90 percent. The intensive professional development, coupled with significant coaching support, allows our teachers to smoothly transition into the classroom and quickly thrive.”
  • Syracuse City School District in the state of New York has seen CTE teacher retention improve from 50 percent beyond the first year of teaching to over 88 percent. 

Professional Learning, Coaching and Collaboration

T2L’s professional learning weaves content from four modules — classroom culture, instructional planning, engagement strategies and assessment and feedback — together in face-to-face, virtual or blended settings. Ongoing just-in-time coaching and collaboration with other new teachers helps all participating teachers experience greater success. 

SREB works with state departments of education, postsecondary partners and districts to tailor  plans of support to address their unique contexts and ensure that alternatively certified teachers gain classroom confidence, experience greater job satisfaction and remain in the profession.  

SREB also strives to build local capacity to own and support T2L by including local trainers from the state, district or postsecondary institution in initial professional learning sessions led by SREB. The second round of training has SREB collaborates with and gradually prepares these local trainers to take the lead. This process not only helps develop the CTE teacher pipeline but also empowers local agencies to keep that pipeline open. The result is better prepared teacher-leaders who know how to use quality instructional practices to impact student success.

To learn more about Teaching to Lead or SREB’s similarly designed alternative certification program for math and science teachers, contact Debbie Anderson at or Scott Warren at

Written by Debbie Anderson, Gaye Martin and Scott Warren

Visit SREB’s virtual booth at the Advance CTE 2021 Spring Meeting! More information and the interactive agenda can be found here.

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