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Teacher shortage is a critical issue for stakeholders in the central region, and one way education agencies are addressing this need is with Grow Your Own (GYO) programs. The Missouri Equity Plan: Ensuring Equitable Access to Excellent Educators, for example, names teacher shortage as one of four critical focus areas in Missouri. To address this need, “Missouri school districts are developing their own teacher pipeline” with GYO programs. Through GYO programs, districts cultivate prospective teacher talent to develop a more racially and ethnically diverse educator pipeline.

In 2018, REL Central partnered with Educator Pipeline Research Alliance members from the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (MO DESE) to develop an infographic–Grow Your Own: Fostering a Diverse Teacher Workforce in Missouri–that can help stakeholders better understand the need for GYO programs in areas with teacher shortages across the state.

“Accurate and easily communicated data is a key for mobilizing people to address important issues,” explained Paul Katnik, assistant commissioner for the Office of Educator Quality at MO DESE. “Better data communicated clearly and efficiently regarding issues like teacher shortage help create momentum around actual solutions.”

REL Central Infographic: Grow Your Own: Fostering A Diverse Teacher Workforce in Missouri (2019)
Grow Your Own: Fostering A Diverse Teacher Workforce in Missouri (2019)

This infographic will help MO DESE build awareness of the need for GYO programs by familiarizing stakeholders with key demographic differences among students and teachers, including individuals enrolled in educator preparation programs and teaching certificate holders across the state. Among the noticeable differences are percentages of students and teachers from racial/ethnic minority groups. Since students seeing teachers who are representative of the makeup of the community is important for positive student outcomes, fostering a diverse teacher workforce is key (Egalite & Kisida, 2017; Gershenson, Hart, Hyman, Lindsay, & Papageorge, 2018).

Next steps for MO DESE’s Grow Your Own strategy include supporting stakeholders in using this information to develop district-level GYO programs that successfully recruit and retain a diverse and high-quality teacher workforce throughout Missouri.


Egalite, A. J., & Kisida, B. (2017). The effects of teacher match on students’ academic perceptions and attitudes. Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 40(1), 59-81.
Retrieved from

Gershenson, S., Hart, C. M. D., Hyman, J., Lindsay, C., & Papageorge, N. W. (2018). The long-run impacts of same-race teachers (NBER Working Paper No. 25254). Cambridge, MA: National Bureau of Economic Research. Retrieved from