Success For Each Child & Eliminate the Opportunity Gap by Leading with Racial Equity

Educators of Color Leadership Community

Educators of Color Leadership Community Logo

`"Mine is an educated Kingdom." - Kauikeaouli, King Kamehameha III


Enrollment for the 2018-19 cohort of  the Educators of Color Leadership Community is open!

Teacher diversity is a critical issue in the ESD 121 region, as well as across Washington State and nationwide. The Educators of Color Leadership Community (ECLC) is a program designed to support and retain our educators of color through community building, culturally responsive mentoring and coaching, and professional learning that builds on your strengths as an educator of color.

The quote above, “He Aupuni Palapala Ko’u” is attributed to King Kamehameha III of the Kingdom of Hawai’i. During his rule, Hawai’ians had an above 90 percent literacy rate–higher than the literacy rate of many other “developed” countries around the world. This concept was shared with us by Sui-Lan Ho’okano, one of our inaugural ECLC members, who conveyed wisdom of her indigenous ancestors and encourages us to believe that we already have the knowledge and resources to help our children–all our children–thrive.

When children are taught by those who believe in and can recognize their brilliance, and who understand their cultural context, and who model what they can achieve, they too can realize their hopes and dreams.

We are an educated kingdom.

“He aupuni palapala ko’u.”

Why is the ECLC Important?

The Road Map Superintendents are committed to increasing the number of teachers of color in our region and to supporting their long-term success as educators. Supporting and retaining our teachers of color is a crucial strategy for eliminating the Opportunity Gap in the PSESD region as well as across the state and the nation, and is aligned with the goals of HB 1541 (the Opportunity Gap Bill). A diverse teacher workforce will improve educational outcomes for all our students, particularly for students of color, who are most adversely impacted by the lack of teacher diversity. PSESD serves a student population that is 47% students of color (and growing increasingly diverse every year) while our teaching force is almost 90 % white.

A diverse teaching pool is critical to our mission of eliminating the opportunity gap :

  • Having teachers of color leads to strong educational outcomes for all students, particularly students of color.
  • Teachers of color serve as positive role models that encourage persistence, resilience and the possibility of attaining college education or professional careers to students of color; and challenge stereotypes about the potential of people of color for all students, thereby better preparing them to succeed in a diverse world. Supporting research.
  • All students benefit from having teachers of color, leading to better academic outcomes, regardless of race.
  • Research tells us that retention for teachers of color is lower than it is for their white counterparts, due to a variety of factors. Research also tells us that teachers of color benefit from supports that value their “cultural resources” (their life experiences and connections to communities of color), from mentoring and professional development that honors their unique perspectives, and from having connections to colleagues that share their experiences and motivations to teach. (Achinstein, Ogawa & Sexton, 2010)

How Will the ECLC Support Teachers of Color?

As a participant in the ECLC, you will have the opportunity to participate in an experience that combines culturally responsive mentoring and coaching with professional development and leadership opportunities relevant to your needs and interests. We will intentionally support the relationship you have with your principal so that as a team, we can foster and cultivate a school environment that will allow teachers of color to thrive. We have received input from teachers of color across the PSESD region to help us design the ECLC as a pilot program, and we look forward to creating an experience that connects teachers of color to one another, to their principals, and to other sources of support and growth opportunities.

What to Expect as an ECLC Participant or Supporting Administrator

Each ECLC Participant will attend five in-person meetings: 
Sept. 27: 8:30-12:30: Half-day orientation for Teacher and Principals

NOTE: You only need to attend ONE half-day orientation session!
Oct. 31: 8:30-3
Jan. 24 : 8:30-3
March 19 8:30-3
May 15: 8:30-3

Teachers will be expected to:

  • Obtain the support of their principal and district
  • Attend all ECLC sessions
  • Develop a plan to interact with Mentors as recommended in the orientation session
  • Develop a plan to share their experiences with ECLC with their principal
  • Provide feedback about their experiences to PSESD in order to share with district leadership about needs of teachers of color in our region.

Administrators will be expected to :

  • Attend a half-day orientation session on Sept. 27 to learn about the goals of the program and participate in professional learning about supporting educators of color
  • Meet with their participant as requested to learn about their experiences and to strategize for their continued growth and support.
  • Provide feedback about their experiences to PSESD in order to share with district leadership about needs of educators of color in our region.
  • Attend the last session of ECLC on May 15 to hear from Educators about their learning and their needs for ongoing support.

Selected References for More Information and Research About Teacher of Color Retention

Achinstein, Betty, Rodney T. Ogawa, and Sexton Dena. “Retaining Teachers of Color: A Pressing Problem and a Potential Strategy for “Hard-to-Staff” Schools.” Review of Educational Research80.1 (2010): 71-107. Web. Cherng, H.-Y. S., and P. F. Halpin. “The Importance of Minority Teachers: Student Perceptions of Minority Versus White Teachers.” Educational Researcher 45.7 (2016): 407-20. Web. Simon, Nicole S., Susan Moore Johnson, and Stefanie K. Reinhorn. “The Challenge of Recruiting and Hiring Teachers of Color: Lessons from Six High-Performing, High-Poverty, Urban Schools.” The Project on the Next Generation of Teachers. Harvard Graduate School of Education, July 2015. Web. U.S. Department of education, Office of Planning, Evaluation and Policy Development, Policy and Program Studies Service, The State of Racial Diversity in the Educator Workforce, Washington, D.C. 2016. “Washington State Report Card.” Washington State Report Card. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Mar. 2017.

Please note: The Vision and hope is that ECLC participants will continue to participate in the program for a total of THREE YEARS.
Year 1: Community building, leadership development
Year 2: Strengthening leadership role and relationships with administrators/central offices
Year 3: Serving as a coach/leader mentor for educators of color within your own district, with ongoing support from your cohort and PSESD.

Enrollment for the 2017-18 ECLC is now open.  Please use the links below to complete your application by October 17th, 2018.

Teacher Intake Form  Supporting Principal Form

2018-2019 ECLC Dates PLEASE NOTE: NO ECLC ON OCT 31!! Updated schedule below.

September 27th, 8:30-12:30  Half-day orientation for principals and teachers

November 13, 8:30am-3:00pm

January 24th, 8:30am-3:00pm

March 19, 8:30am-3:00pm

May 15th, 8:30am-3:00pm


If you have any questions or need assistance, please contact:

Eileen Yoshina
Manager-Equity in Education
Puget Sound Educational Service District
800 Oakesdale Ave. SW Renton, WA 98057
(425) 917-7882
Eyoshina@psesd.org