In late May, Tennessee Educators of Color Alliance announced they would partner with Knox Education Foundation to launch the first cohort of the Tennessee Educators of Color (TEC) Fellowship. This fellowship is a leadership opportunity that will develop, connect and elevate educators from diverse backgrounds in areas that will improve outcomes for Tennessee students. Dr. Diarese George, the executive director for the TNECA, said, “We are excited to partner with Knox Education Foundation to support local change agents and advocates in Knox County. We know the value of what an increased diverse educator workforce can mean to school systems and the students being served in them, and we are honored to support this work in the district.”
Back in February, the State Board of Education unanimously adopted the statewide Educator Diversity policy. This policy requires local school districts to establish educator diversity goals that reflect the racial and ethnic backgrounds of the students. It also requires the districts to identify and implement the strategies it will use to recruit and retain a move diverse teaching force. The TN Department of Ed will monitor and report progress in achieving the goals set forth within this policy. This decision is supported with research that shows a diverse teaching force has several positive effects on students in a number of developmental areas.
Knox County Schools currently serve more than 60,000 students with about 32% being students of color. The district employs over 4,200 teachers with 6% being from racially and ethnically diverse backgrounds.
“Expanding opportunities through this new fellowship is a great step toward equity, and we are excited to support this partnership with TECA,” said Chris Letsos, CEO, Knox Education Foundation. “While there is more work to do, we are excited to move forward with this step for all Knox County students.”