Increasing Teacher Diversity Through Innovation

July 13, 2021

NewSchools Venture Fund hosts a virtual event to examine the teacher diversity gap and solutions for closing it

(OAKLAND, CA – July 13, 2021) NewSchools Venture Fund is hosting a virtual event with support from the Walton Family Foundation on July 14, 2021 to explore research, learning and best practices for diversifying the teaching workforce. This event coincides with NewSchools’ current open call for applicants for a $2.5 million teacher diversity funding opportunity

Less than 20% of educators identify as people of color, while students of color compose more than 50% of the entire PK-12 student population. NewSchools seeks to close this gap given the significant research base that shows greater teacher diversity within a school yields higher expectations, lower discipline referral rates and better academic results for all students, especially students of color.

During the event, viewers will hear from NewSchools about the organizations’ commitment to diversity and the initiatives they are leading. Travis Bristol, assistant professor at the University of California, Berkeley’s Graduate School of Education will provide data on the current state of teacher diversity, the impact on students and schools, and what is at stake if the diversity gap is not addressed now. Practitioners and current NewSchools grantees, Dr. Diarese George of Tennessee Educators of Color Alliance and Ushawnda Mitchell of the Connecticut Teacher Residency Program, will share what compelled them to start their programs, how they are effecting change, and the opportunities ahead for students and teachers. 

“We’re sharing the stage with some amazing leaders who are defying the odds as new innovators, especially during the pandemic, supporting teachers of color to have tremendous impact in their schools and communities. We have so much to learn from them, including how we can apply their approaches across the country,” said Frances Messano, President of NewSchools Venture Fund. 

“The deep, personal connection between educators and their students is at the foundation of a great education,” said philanthropist Alice L. Walton. “When more classrooms and schools are led by educators of color,  more children can reach their full potential.”

Through the Teacher Diversity funding opportunity, NewSchools supports innovative approaches to advance educator diversity, including recruiting new teachers of color to the field and supporting efforts to retain existing educators. Innovators with bold ideas to enhance the recruitment, development and retention of Black, Latino, Asian, Pacific Islander and Indigenous teachers may apply for funding. Leaders of color and those in central and midwestern states are especially encouraged to apply. This is the second year that NewSchools Venture Fund and the Walton Family Foundation are collaborating on initiatives aimed at supporting diverse teachers, as part of their work to reimagine education. 

Register for the event at

About NewSchools Venture Fund

NewSchools is a nonprofit venture philanthropy that invests in promising teams of educators and innovators with the vision and skills to reimagine learning. We help them accomplish their missions to achieve outstanding results for the students, educators and schools they serve. We are committed to helping students finish high school prepared and inspired to achieve their most ambitious dreams and plans. Through our investing, management assistance, network building and thought leadership, NewSchools helps to reimagine PreK-12 education.

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About the Walton Family Foundation

The Walton Family Foundation is, at its core, a family-led foundation. The children and grandchildren of our founders, Sam and Helen Walton, lead the foundation and create access to opportunity for people and communities. We work in three areas: improving K-12 education, protecting rivers and oceans and the communities they support, and investing in our home region of Northwest Arkansas and the Arkansas-Mississippi Delta. In 2018, the foundation awarded more than $595 million in grants in support of these initiatives.

To learn more, visit and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.