Diverse Leaders


The Diverse Leaders strategy is based on robust research from within and outside the education sector that suggests diversifying education leadership and the U.S. teaching force will improve student outcomes, give rise to more innovative and relevant ideas, sustain change over time, and strengthen organizations.


Better student outcomes.

Greater teacher diversity within a school results in higher expectations, lower discipline referral rates, and better academic results for all students. For research studies showing the positive impact of same-race teachers on student outcomes, see here.


More innovative and relevant ideas.

The Center for Talent Innovation found that organizations with diverse leadership are 72 percent more likely to challenge the status quo and 50 percent more likely to take risks. In addition, the data suggests education teams who are representative of students’ diverse racial/ethnic and cultural backgrounds, have a deeper understanding of student needs, increasing their ability to create relevant solutions.


More sustainable change.

A monograph by United Negro College Fund captures a common sentiment among communities of color that education reform has been imposed upon them. The authors recommend education organizations partner with local leaders to activate entire communities to become more involved in education advocacy, spurring long-lasting change that benefits all children in the community. Their research supports our belief that authentic community partnership with local leaders is necessary to achieve sustainable change.


Stronger organizations.

A McKinsey report found that diverse organizations outperform homogeneous ones, have higher employee satisfaction and enjoy improved employee collaboration and loyalty. Along these lines, “Unrealized Impact,” a reported funded by and produced in partnership with NewSchools, showed education staff members who perceive their workplaces as diverse, equitable and inclusive are three times more likely to recommend their organizations to a friend. They also report higher satisfaction rates and higher intent to stay.


Despite the benefits of diversity, there is a large diversity gap in education (see figure below). Leaders of color are underrepresented in education as compared to students of color in our nation’s schools, especially Black and Latino leaders. If nothing changes, this gap will grow as the number of children of color in our public school system continues to climb.

NewSchools’ Diverse Leaders strategy aims to close the diversity gap by recruiting, retaining, and supporting Black and Latino leadership in education. Our goal is for Black and Latino leaders to represent at least 40 percent of the PreK-12 education workforce, mirroring the demographics of U.S. students today.

Impact to Date

  • Invested $7.6 million in 32 ventures working to advance diverse leadership in education, 82 percent of which are Black- or Latino-led.
    • Since 2015, our ventures have supported more than 9,500 leaders who served nearly 22 million students in 2018 alone.
    • Eighty percent of the ~4,500 leaders served in 2018 were Black or Latino.
    • Our funding is catalytic. The portfolio as a whole has raised $32 million – nearly six times the capital we invested in them.
  • Increased the percentage of Black and Latino entrepreneurs across NewSchools portfolios.
    • In 2015, 31 percent of NewSchools’ ventures were Black- or Latino Led. As of 2018, 39 percent were Black- or Latino-led.
  • Released “Unrealized Impact,” a groundbreaking study on the state of diversity, equity and inclusion in education today, with Promise54.
  • Launched the DEI Expert Hub, a resource for education leaders seeking help deepening their organizational commitment to DEI, with our partner Catalyst:Ed.
  • Advanced NewSchools’ internal commitment to DEI.
    • Currently, 36 percent of staff, 60 percent of our leadership team, and 29 percent of our Board identify as Black or Latino. Forty-six percent of staff identify as a person of color.
    • Released a recent staff survey, which details our progress on diversity, equity and inclusion. The survey was administered as part of the Unrealized Impact project.
    • Documented our DEI journey in a Grantmakers for Education case study.