Teacher Leadership Summit: Attracting, Retaining, and Developing a Diverse STEM Teaching Workforce | Washington, DC

Teacher Leadership Summit: Attracting, Retaining, and Developing a Diverse STEM Teaching Workforce | Washington, DC

To tackle the issue of underrepresentation in STEM education, the Smithsonian Science Education Center and Shell Oil Company hosted a Teacher Leadership Summit powered by Teach to Lead at Howard University in Washington, DC on February 23-25, 2018. At this summit, teams of educators created plans for attracting, retaining, and developing a diverse STEM teaching workforce in their districts to become catalysts for systemic change.

By increasing representation among STEM teachers, we will in turn increase the diversity of STEM students and subsequent career opportunities available to them. Architect, teacher, astrophysicist, nurse, video game developer. Every child in our classrooms should feel empowered to be anything they want to be. But to make this a reality, students need role models who look like them to pave the way, proving they can achieve anything they set their minds to. According to the American Association of Colleges for Teachers of Education, 45% of America’s PK-12 population are students of color whereas the teachers that look like them make up only 17.5% of the teaching workforce. What’s more, while STEM-related jobs are growing rapidly, only a small fraction of students graduating with STEM degrees come from underrepresented populations.

Photos taken by O.B. Grant, Fulltone Photography.


We are no longer accepting applications for the 2018 Summit. Please check back later for future dates and program opportunities.

The application process to attend this program is competitive. Applications are scored based on the following categories:

  1. Team composition – Teams can be as small as three and as large as six members. Each team must include at least one practicing classroom teacher. Ideally teams will be comprised of a variety of individuals such as administrators, school staff, community members, parents, or local school and government officials including individuals who are empowered to make decisions in your school or district. New teams will receive preference over returning teams.
  2. Clarity of Idea – Extent to which the submission states the proposed idea for attracting, training, or retaining STEM teachers from diverse backgrounds in a way that is understandable and shows forethought, both in development and implementation.
  3. Range of Impact – The potential impact in and beyond the classroom, school, or district on attracting, training, or retaining STEM teachers from diverse backgrounds.
  4. Populations Served – The extent to which traditionally underserved populations may be served by the proposed idea.

Teams invited to participate will receive round-trip airfare to the summit location, lodging for the duration of the summit, and meals related to the summit paid for by Shell Oil Company and arranged by the Smithsonian Science Education Center.

About the Movement

The Smithsonian Science Education Center in collaboration with Shell Oil Company is working with a "Steering Committee" of experts on minority participation in teaching careers. The Steering Committee is composed of education thought leaders, including representatives from FSG Consulting, Howard University, Shell Oil Company, and the Smithsonian Science Education Center along with experts on PK-12 and postsecondary education, Minority-Serving Institutions, and others.

Three areas of work have been identified by the steering committee in pursuit of increasing, training, and retaining minorities in STEM teaching:

(1) Developing a playbook for school district-level systems change.
(2) Implementing school district-level systems change.
(3) Advancing teacher leadership development with a summit in Washington, DC powered by Teach to Lead to engage leadership teams from promising districts through the U.S. who have identified problems of practice related to attracting, retaining, and developing a diverse STEM teaching workforce.

To learn more about this work contact Katie Gainsback, Program Manager at gainsbackk@si.edu.

About the Playbook

Cover for the playbook "Fostering Change: Ideas and Best Practices for Diversity in STEM Teaching in K-12 Classrooms"








This publication addresses the second area of work identified by our steering committee: developing a playbook for district-level systems change. The playbook below captures some of the best practices for creating systems level change at the district level that have been proved successful in increasing the recruitment, retention and promotion of a diverse STEM teaching workforce.