The Best of Us S2/E4: Understanding Educators as a Workforce, with Dr. Tequilla Brownie

In this episode of The Best of Us, we talk with Dr. Tequilla Brownie, CEO of The New Teacher Project, about ways to understand and address the teacher shortage as a workforce issue.

Public school systems are usually among the top employers of any given town or city, yet it’s often expected for K-12 to solve its own workforce issues. Tequilla points out that teacher shortages have been an ongoing problem, and that solving them requires the kind of innovative solutions and assistance usually enjoyed by private employers.

She also explores boots-on-the-ground strategies working for Tennessee and Mississippi, why teacher workforce conversations focus on the wrong metrics, the importance of killing one’s sacred cows, and much more.

Listen now:


The educator experience and organization background [00:01:45] The history and evolution of TNTP, their work in supporting districts and teachers, and the importance of community partnerships.

Viewing teaching as a workforce issue [00:05:03] Challenging the perception of teaching as solely a calling, and how it has led to teacher shortages as a workforce challenge.

Expanding the perspective on teacher shortages [00:08:56] Considering K-12 education as a major employer and human capital asset manager, and why community leaders don’t teach it as such.

Teacher shortage and measuring effective instruction [00:09:52] Discussion on the misconception of teacher shortage and the importance of measuring effective instruction for students.

Innovative solutions to the teacher shortage problem [00:11:56] Leveraging technology to recruit, train and retain exceptional teaching talent.

Reimagining professional learning for teachers [00:14:56] Importance of targeted PD for teachers and the need to move away from random acts of professional learning.

Challenges in program evaluation for districts [00:21:01] Why and how evaluating programs and identifying indicators of change is so tough in education.

The need for strategic decision making based on data [00:23:58] The need for data analysis to make informed decisions as districts face budget cuts and declining enrollment.

The importance of instructional coherence [00:26:34] Discussion on the significance of instructional coherence in districts and schools, and its impact on student outcomes.

Statewide coherent literacy strategy in Tennessee [00:27:01] Exploration of Tennessee's efforts to address early literacy issues and implement a statewide coherent literacy strategy.

Adoption of the science of reading in Mississippi [00:28:15] Highlighting Mississippi's adoption of the science of reading and its impact on improving literacy outcomes.

The importance of community collaboration [00:34:34] The case for community and governmental alignment in addressing teacher shortages.

Let's get started

Schedule a demo with one of our friendly team members.

Schedule a Demo