Giving Compass' Take:

• Caroline Bauman at Chalkbeat interviews Nafeesha Mitchell, the new leader of Teach for America-Memphis. It's the first time in nine years that this teaching program has had someone new in this role. 

• The author mentions that this program has seen extensive support from local and national philanthropies. Why is it critical for donors to invest in local efforts to improve educational outcomes? 

• Read about how Colorado's Teach for America is training teachers in early childhood education. 

For the first time in nine years, Memphis’ largest alternative teacher training program will have a new leader in Nafeesha Mitchell.

Mitchell will welcome the next class of Teach for America-Memphis teachers, expected to be about 250 members, when she starts on June 1.

The appointment marks a significant moment for the 13-year-old teacher preparation program, which had a consistent leader for nine years in Athena Palmer. When Palmer took charge of the program in 2010, it was small and criticized for its lack of diversity. Now, the program has almost quadrupled in size and is known for recruiting and retaining educators of color. Palmer recruited Mitchell in the hopes she would continue the work she started, while also creating a stronger alumni program.

The State Board of Education has consistently given Teach for America-Memphis high marks in the state’s evaluation of how well programs prepare teachers for classrooms.  The program has also enjoyed wide support from local and national philanthropies. But teacher unions have been wary of it because the teachers have little training before going into classrooms that can be difficult to manage.

Mitchell has been with Teach for America since 2009 and was most recently the vice president on the national organization’s leadership and engagement team, where she headed up an alumni program for educators of color.

She said focusing on Memphis’ large group of alumni would be a big focus for her, especially since she played a big role in the national organization’s alumni network previously.

We spoke with Mitchell about her past, her hopes for TFA-Memphis, and what she has been reading to get ready for her new position.

Read the full interview about the new leader of Teach for America-Memphis by Caroline Bauman at Chalkbeat.