The Village for Leaders in Education

The Village for Leaders in Education

The Challenge

Research shows that educators of color are drastically underrepresented at every level of the education system. While 52 percent of America’s public school students identify as people of color, fewer than 20 percent of teachers and administrators are people of color, and that number dwindles the higher you go in the education system. According to researchers at Johns Hopkins University and American University, all students—regardless of their racial identity—benefit from a racially diverse educator workforce. All students are exposed to diverse perspectives, have an increased sense of civic engagement, and improve problem solving, creativity, and critical thinking skills when they experience an educator of color.

Insight + Courage + Action

Addressing this challenge requires intentionally recruiting educators of color; it also requires environments in which leaders of color receive the support they need to be successful in their current and future roles. To meet this need, TNTP launched The Village for Leaders in Education, a cohort-based professional learning experience to support the retention and efficacy of education leaders while also improving their students’ experiences. Our first two cohorts comprised 31 leaders of color (15 school leaders and 16 district leaders) representing 7 states and 21 unique school systems. Throughout this six-month experience, leaders built authentic relationships, expanded their social and professional networks, and received the individualized coaching and mentorship needed to thrive in their current roles and as they advance in their careers.

Some of the standout components of The Village include:


Individualized coaching focused on specific, measurable, ambitious, realistic, timebound, inclusive, and equitable (SMARTIE) goals is an essential component of this experience and is designed to impact student outcomes/experiences.

“The coaching calls were awesome. You helped me keep perspective on what I was experiencing and reminded me that I had a village.”

“You really helped me to keep at it. You listened, tried to understand the craziness I was enduring, and always found a resource I could use to help me move to the next step—knowing that I did have things I could control when I felt like I had no control. Thank you.”

—The Village Cohort member

Connection & Affinity Spaces

Educators of color crave affinity-based, role-alike learning spaces with like-minded peers. These spaces foster a sense of belonging and create the psychological safety needed for leaders to show up as their authentic selves. Having access to such a community improves morale and efficacy and supports retention for leaders of color.

“The Village experience has been a game changer for me.”

“I left a space feeling isolated, marginalized, and unsupported. To have this experience with a group of like-minded people, a cohort of individuals to pour into you, has just left me speechless. I am even more fearless and ready to continue the work to ensure equitable outcomes for all students.”

The Village Cohort member

The Power of Storytelling

It is not enough to support education leaders of color to do good work—they also need support codifying and amplifying their work through compelling storytelling. The Village experience culminates with participants sharing their stories, work processes, and outcomes through powerful presentations.



All Cohort participants of The Village said they would recommend The Village to their peers. Additionally, 100 percent of participants have either remained in their roles or advanced in their careers.

Not only did The Village participants benefit from the program, their students also reaped the rewards. Through our direct support of leaders of color across two cohorts, we were able to reach and impact:






Districts / School Systems

For example, participant and Miami-Dade County Public Schools Principal Lamar Johnson identified through his problem of practice research that more than half of the second-grade students at his school were scoring two years or more below grade level on one of his school’s reading assessments. Additionally, more than half of those same second graders scored at or below the 10th percentile in reading, according to another assessment tool. Through Johnson’s work with The Village, he and his school team were able to facilitate a 23 percent increase in the number of second graders who are reading on or above grade level.

Other participants also saw incredible gains in student outcomes through the work they completed with The Village. A few examples include:

  • At Reddick Elementary School, Principal Jennifer Dames led an initiative that resulted in increased reading proficiency for her ELL students. In third grade, students’ reading proficiency increased by 14 percent; fourth-grade reading proficiency increased by 23 percent; and fifth-grade reading proficiency increased by 14 percent.
  • Marissa Wilson, Principal at A. Philips Randolph Elementary School, led an initiative focused on increasing second-grade math proficiency. Under her leadership, 83 percent of second-grade students demonstrated proficiency on the end-of-year math assessment, representing a 13 percent increase in math proficiency. Forty-nine percent of second-grade students scored at the Superior level, which grants these students the ability to take advanced/accelerated math in third grade.
  • Dr. Moneek Scott McTier, Instructional Superintendent of the Glades Region in the School District of Palm Beach County, led an initiative that resulted in 5th grade students at six out of seven elementary schools in the Glades Region demonstrating double digit proficiency gains on the state’s summative science assessment. There was an average increase of 20 percent in 5th grade science proficiency rates from 2022 to 2023.
  • Analy Cruz-Phommany, Executive Director of Bilingual Programming and World Languages at Rochester City Schools, spearheaded an initiative to expand the district’s bilingual program. As a result, bilingual education will return to Franklin High school in 2023-2024. Additionally, the district will celebrate its youngest emergent multilingual learners (pre-K) through an expansion of the district’s bilingual program. By 2024-2025, students will have five languages to choose from instead of just one, and students who speak Spanish as their first language will be able to take rigorous heritage speaker classes outside of bilingual programming. 

If you are interested in learning more about The Village for Leaders in Education, including how to bring this experience to your school or district, please contact Nicola Martin, Partner, at