ECMCF Fellow Feature: Dr. Tempestt Adams

In September 2022, Advance CTE and ECMC Foundation announced the second cohort of The Postsecondary State Career Technical Education (CTE) Leaders Fellowship at Advance CTE—Sponsored by ECMC Foundation. The Advance CTE — ECMCF Fellows include representation across multiple demographic categories reflecting the Fellowship’s goal of intentionally building a postsecondary leadership pipeline for underserved populations in Career Technical Education (CTE)  that closes racial representation gaps and removes equity barriers to postsecondary leadership advancement. For this next blog in the ECMCF Fellow Feature series, we’re excited to feature ECMCF Fellow Dr. Tempestt Adams (NC) whose own experience in the classroom served as the inspiration for her Real-World Project topic. Dr. Adams is passionate about improving educator preparation programs and finding solutions that integrate learner voices into discussions about how institutions can increase retention rates. 

“As a lifelong learner, I’ve always been intentional in my pursuit of professional development and growth in my career.”

Dr. Adams found the Fellowship through the recommendation of a colleague who saw the thread of equity throughout the curriculum and workshop topics as an opportunity for her to build upon her previous work in this space. Through the Fellowship, Dr. Adams has had the opportunity to engage with Career Technical Education (CTE) specific knowledge that she had not previously been exposed to. As a result, she feels more equipped and confident to use language and tools to support her ideas about becoming a more effective leader.

“Any researcher would say that you build confidence as you read and increase your exposure to new ideas. This is particularly true for learning about using an equity lens in CTE, and I’m grateful as this isn’t always the reality of my everyday work.”

Dr. Adams has seen the ways in which her participation in the Fellowship has helped her advance in her current role as an Assistant Professor at Appalachian State University and she’s interested in exploring additional opportunities to increase her leadership to expand her impact. Specifically, she’s learning more about programs that directly address issues impacting student success in undergraduate CTE or graduate certificate programs. The Fellowship has also piqued Dr. Adams’s interest in learning more about community colleges and how postsecondary CTE programs are leveraging learner data. As a transfer-friendly institution, data-sharing partnerships with community colleges would provide a more complete understanding of where students are coming from before they transfer. Dr. Adams sees an opportunity to use this data to better equip her instructors in their class preparation.

Dr. Adams became enamored with data during her doctoral program when she was exploring the national challenge of recruiting and retaining teachers of color. She noticed that there was more racial diversity among the second-career individuals entering the graduate certificate program than those choosing to enroll in her program. At the same time, she noticed that the retention rates of those enrolled in the graduate certificate program were much lower, and as a result, fewer teachers of color were completing the program. Through her Real-World Project, Dr. Adams is exploring the reasons for this drop in learner retention with the goal of improving institutional awareness of the challenges that learners are facing so that they can be addressed.

 “Looking ahead, I’m interested in taking this work and the outline I’ve created to pursue a Spencer Foundation Grant. Additional funding would provide the opportunity to expand the number of students that I’m surveying in my Real-World Project and look more whole scale at black teachers and CTE in the state.”

If you have any questions, contact Dr. Adams by email at 

Amy Hodge, Policy Associate

Tags: , , , ,

Comments are closed.