California’s Building Bridges Summit Focuses on Creating a Roadmap for Diverse, Sustainable Educator Workforce

California’s Building Bridges Summit Focuses on Creating a Roadmap for Diverse, Sustainable Educator Workforce

Educators, Systems Leaders, and Advocates Will Use Summit Learnings to Develop Recommendations for How the State Should Support and Sustain BIPOC Educators

Sacramento, CA, April 10, 2023—Today, educators, policymakers, K-12 leaders, higher education leaders, non-profit leaders, researchers, and advocates from across California gathered to develop a shared understanding of the root causes of why educators of color and multilingual educators enter, stay, and leave the profession and co-create a road map for building and supporting a diverse and sustainable teacher workforce in California. The summit, called, “#BuildingBridges: Setting the Vision for Sustaining BIPOC Educators in California,” was designed by classroom teachers and led by a coalition of organizations including Latinos for Education, One Million Teachers of Color Campaign, Teach Plus, The Education Trust-West, TNTP, and UCLA’s Center for the Transformation of Schools. While only 20 percent of kids in California identify as non-Hispanic white, 61 percent of public school teachers identify as non-Hispanic white. At the same time, teacher preparation programs in the state show a drop in degrees and certifications and districts and charter networks are finding it challenging to recruit and retain educators of color.

“Understanding how the state can support and sustain diverse educators is more important than ever. With the challenges facing California students and educators today, they are looking to state and local leaders to help set them up for success,” said Sarah Lillis, Executive Director of Teach Plus California. “We hope that the Building Bridges summit leads to a galvanizing vision for a robust infrastructure that not only supports teachers’ development in meeting the academic and social emotional needs of their students, but also creates mechanisms that value their contributions as professionals and sustain them as individuals.”

“With such clear evidence that all students – and especially students of color – experience both academic and socioemotional benefits when they have a teacher of color, it’s imperative that we do much more as a state to support these educators.“ said Dr. Christopher Nellum, executive director of The Education Trust—West, “The Building Bridges summit is an important launchpad in large part because we are starting with teachers themselves, and collectively envisioning the specific strategies and solutions that address real world barriers to joining and remaining in the teaching profession.”

The #BuildingBridges summit kicked off with a welcome and keynote by Secretary of State Shirley Weber. In subsequent sessions, attendees did a deep-dive into a range of issues connected to teacher recruitment and retention, from understanding the current state of the teaching profession to gauging the state’s role in supporting TK-12 students to creating the conditions and infrastructure to support and sustain educators of color and multilingual educators in California’s classrooms. Attendees learned directly from teachers and students of color about their experiences in the K-12 system, and how these experiences affect their social and emotional well-being and academic success.

“Our ultimate goal must be to ensure that every student has an exceptional teacher in the classroom to guide their learning, and that these teachers together reflect the diversity of our state,” said Dr. Manuel Rustin, a high school social science teacher at John Muir High School Early College Magnet in Pasadena, California, Teach Plus California Policy Fellow, and summit panelist. “Although an abundance of existing state policy aims at making sure our classroom teachers are well-prepared, more needs to be done to address our goal of diversity and promote a robust, sustainable teaching force that mirrors the many languages, cultures, and backgrounds of our students.”

Understanding the Current State of the Teaching Profession

The first summit panel explored the current state of the teaching profession by looking at the latest research and the current experiences of educators of color in California. The panel, which included researchers and current classroom teachers, looked at the impact of recent investments in educator workforce and examples of local successes in recruiting and retaining a diverse TK-12 faculty.

On-ramps for TK-12 Students into the Teaching Profession

This panel, rooted in the experiences of students of color and multilingual students, examined the key roadblocks for students into the teaching profession and addressed the role of the state in intentionally supporting TK-12 students to consider a career in education.

Laying the Foundation: Teacher Preparation

During this panel, teacher preparation leaders discussed the opportunities for the state to create the conditions for teacher candidates of color and multilingual candidates to successfully prepare to become educators in California.

Supporting and Sustaining Educators of Color and Multilingual Educators

This panel focused on the drivers and supports needed to ensure educators of color and multilingual educators stay in teaching, including working conditions, compensation, and leadership opportunities.

“We need legislators to act so teachers of color stay in California classrooms where their presence is crucial for every student’s achievement. We need to come together with a shared vision for the profession—and then work together to execute it,” said Allison Zamora, a teacher in San Diego County, Teach Plus California Policy Fellow, and summit panelist.

About Latinos for Education

Latinos for Education is a national education non-profit organization focused on developing, placing, and connecting essential Latino talent in the education sector. The organization is mobilizing a network of skilled education leaders to ensure the voice of students and families is not only heard but factored into decision-making in schools, communities and education institutions throughout the U.S. The organization also ensures Latino education professionals have access to a nationwide network of peers as well as career and professional development opportunities across the country through the members-only EdCentro network. For more information visit:

About One Million Teachers of Color Campaign

The One Million Teachers of Color campaign has a goal of adding one million teachers of color and thirty-thousand leaders of color to the education workforce by 2023. The Campaign aims to unite diverse stakeholders in the common mission of increasing the numbers of educators of color in order to advance outcomes for all students, particularly students of color, as well creating pathways to the middle class for aspiring educators of color who have faced systemic barriers into the profession. The Campaign is led by a Steering Committee comprised of the following eight organizations: Center for Black Educator Development; The Education Trust; The Hunt Institute; Latinos for Education; Men of Color in Education Leadership; New Leaders; Teach Plus; and TNTP. Learn more about the Campaign at

About Teach Plus

The mission of Teach Plus is to empower excellent, experienced, and diverse teachers to take leadership over key policy and practice issues that affect their students’ success. In pursuing this mission, Teach Plus is guided by the Student Opportunity Mandate: All students should have the opportunity to achieve their potential in an education system defined by its commitment to equity, its responsiveness to individual needs, and its ability to prepare students for postsecondary success.

About The Education Trust-West

The Education Trust–West works for educational justice and the high academic achievement of all students at all levels, pre-K through college, in the state of California. We expose opportunity and achievement gaps that separate students of color and low-income students from other youth, and we identify and advocate for the strategies that will forever close those gaps.

About TNTP

TNTP envisions a public education experience that upends the predictive influence of poverty and race on a child’s life outcomes, fuels innovation and economic growth across our country, and fulfills the promise of the American Dream for generations to come. TNTP works to ensure that the PK-12 system is designed to deliver on the classic American expectation that education will lift every generation and is able to ensure every student is able to choose from a variety of paths for a thriving life.

About UCLA’s Center on the Transformation of Schools

Housed in the UCLA School of Education & Information Studies, the UCLA Center for Transformation of Schools (CTS) partners with the education ecosystem to bring about systems change through Humanizing Research, Validating Practices, and Transformative Policies with key stakeholders to support equitable educational outcomes for historically underserved students. CTS is leading a series of studies examining equity gaps and opportunities across the educator pipeline to help better recruit, prepare, develop and retain a talented and racially diverse workforce. Learn more at

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