Purpose Prize

Marc Freedman Portrait

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Ellen Moir

New Teacher Center
Purpose Prize Fellow 2010

Moir works with school districts and others in developing teacher mentoring programs to reduce high teacher turnover rates and ensure quality education for students.

With half of all teachers leaving the profession within their first five years, Ellen Moir, a lifelong educator, knew that new teachers everywhere were being inadequately prepared and poorly supported – leaving students and strapped school districts to pay the price.

Moir turned to her then-employer, the University of California at Santa Cruz, with an idea: Why not pair novice teachers with highly trained mentors? In 1998, mentors began working locally with new teachers to set professional goals; analyze student work and achievement data; provide feedback and assessments; and improve overall teacher performance.

Twelve years later – working with school districts, policymakers and education leaders – the New Teacher Center has grown from a university program providing regional services to a national, independent organization that serves novice teachers in all 50 states. In the 2008-2009 school year, the organization trained approximately 6,300 mentors, who served almost 27,000 teachers. Some participating school districts report long-term teacher retention rates as high as 95 percent.

Moir says developing the New Teacher Center has enriched her life both personally and professionally: “I’ve moved into the next phase of my life by following my passion and calling on the multiple resources and connections I’ve made over my career. My goal now is to see that every student in America has the opportunity to study with an exceptional teacher.”