NIET, Southeastern Louisiana University Partner to Increase New Teacher Recruitment and Retention

September 15, 2022

NIET, Southeastern Louisiana University Partner to Increase New Teacher Recruitment and Retention

Funds will support Tangipahoa Parish School System and St. Charles Parish Public Schools to attract, prepare, and retain a diverse cadre of new teachers

Dr. Joshua H. Barnett, CEO of the National Institute for Excellence in Teaching (NIET) today announced that NIET will partner with Southeastern Louisiana University (Southeastern) as part of a five-year, $5 million competitive grant from the federal Teacher Quality Partnership (TQP) program.

The TQP grant will support the recruitment and preparation of new teachers, including increasing the number of teachers from underrepresented populations. The project responds to the urgent need for well-prepared new teachers in each of the partner districts and will address shortages of classroom teachers in underserved schools.

The Building Rigorous Induction and Development for Growing all Educators (BRIDGE) partnership brings together the second largest teacher preparation program in Louisiana, three high-need school districts, and the non-profit National Institute for Excellence in Teaching (NIET). Together the partners will prepare new teachers in a yearlong residency and support them through high-quality induction in their first two years of teaching. District partners include Tangipahoa Parish School System and St. Charles Parish Public Schools, with one additional local school district selected over the course of the project. This innovative partnership builds on NIET’s two decades of work to strengthen classroom teaching in Louisiana.

The partnership will result in the preparation of 375 more effectively trained, highly supported and diverse new teachers over five years, and increase the instructional leadership skills and knowledge of 150 mentor teachers who will support them. “We are excited to work with Southeastern and our district partners to train mentor teachers as part of the solution for retaining and developing new teachers,” said Dr. Barnett. “Teacher leadership is a proven strategy for supporting new teachers by providing timely, relevant and actionable guidance for their continued growth and improvement.” Training for mentor teachers will increase the number of teachers prepared for leadership roles in their schools, expanding their impact to more students and teachers over the long term. School leaders will also participate in grant activities, strengthening their ability to implement an effective induction program and support new teachers to be successful.

BRIDGE will prepare teachers in shortage areas identified by districts. “By partnering with school districts, the BRIDGE project will support beginning teachers beyond graduation,” said Dr. Paula S. Calderon, Dean of the College of Education at Southeastern Louisiana University. “In doing so, we will help districts to retain qualified teachers beyond the three to five year lifespan of a new teacher.” Dr. Calderon and Dr. Cherissa L. Vitter will serve as principal investigators for the project, working closely with the school districts.

“We are committed to helping every student to excel,” said Melissa M. Stilley, Superintendent of Tangipahoa Parish School System, “The ability of our district to hire effective teachers and school leaders is highly dependent on the skills of teacher and school leader candidates. We are excited to partner with Southeastern and NIET to support our new teachers in continuing to improve their classroom practices and better support student success.”

“This partnership will create high expectations for new teachers and supports for teacher candidates in a yearlong residency,” said Dr. Ken Oertling, Superintendent of St. Charles Parish Public Schools. “This will be followed by induction support in their first years of teaching.” Together these strategies will provide high-quality support for aspiring teachers that bridges their preparation program and their first two years in the classroom.

In Louisiana, students in Title I schools are more likely to be taught by out-of-field or uncertified teachers than their more affluent peers in non-Title I schools. In addition, about 12% of teachers are leaving Louisiana school systems each year, with the majority leaving within their first five years of service. The BRIDGE project will address these challenges by enhancing Southeastern’s teacher preparation program, recruiting a more diverse cadre of new teachers, and creating induction programs in partner districts to support novice teachers to be more effective earlier in their careers.

About Southeastern

Southeastern Louisiana University is an institution of higher education located in the southeast corridor between New Orleans and Baton Rouge. As the third largest university in Louisiana, Southeastern has an enrollment of approximately 14,000 students including those pursuing bachelor, masters and doctoral degrees in Education. In 2020, the Louisiana Department of Education ranked Southeastern as the second largest producer of teachers in the state.

About NIET
For more than two decades, NIET has partnered with schools, districts, states, and universities to build educator excellence and give all students the opportunity for success. NIET’s initiatives, including TAP, teacher and leader development, school improvement, rubric and observation systems, and educator preparation, have impacted more than 300,000 educators and 3 million students across the U.S. Learn more at