The Times’ excellent series on teacher diversity in Washington is a much-needed deep dive into a critical issue facing public education: As our student bodies diversify, how can we ensure that kids have teachers who look like them, and can relate to them on a personal level?
As a former teacher, principal and leader of color at Green Dot Public Schools, I know that my colleagues look for schools where we have the freedom to innovate and serve our students most effectively, while accessing the structure and supports that reflect our community’s needs. Charter public schools like the one I lead often offer that environment, and that’s part of why 46 percent of Green Dot’s teachers are people of color across three schools in Washington. There is certainly more work to be done, but Washington’s charter schools are making strides.
In my experience, teachers are drawn to schools by more than just salary and job security — they are motivated by their school’s mission and intent to a great degree as well. This is in part why alternative-school models are so necessary, and so appealing to students and teachers alike.
Arneidra Lloyd, Seattle, principal, Rainier Valley Leadership Academy High School