Articles / The Importance of Teacher Quality and Retention: Impacting Student Achievement

The Importance of Teacher Quality and Retention: Impacting Student Achievement

Posted on: November 4th, 2011 by No Comments

By: Kisha Howard, Assistant Principal in Fulton County School System

Serving as an educator, on the first day of school I stated, “If I cannot master the child, I cannot master anything.” Understanding this notion and moving forward into my career as a professional educator, I truly believe the life of a child can be developed within the hearts and minds of passionate educators. Taking my passion to deliver instructional strategies to reach every student uniquely, I became successful in providing a classroom forum that was inviting to students of all backgrounds to learn and develop their talents as future leaders. The concern is there is inconsistency in our nation’s school system from classroom to classroom; district to district. There are sprinkles of passionate professional educators in our nation, but mountains of jobseekers that become a disservice to our children. How do we eliminate the root cause of student failure?

Teacher Retention and Recruitment

In Corporate America, employee qualifications are highly based on our national competitive market structure. Based on these principles, many Fortune 500 companies have revolutionized our national economy. Understanding business principles, there should be a direct correlation in transferring knowledge into the minds of future educators who develop future leaders of our nation. The end result is the increase in our direct economy and the maintenance of world power. If this is relevant, why do we continue to see our nation’s school system as a third world country with the lack of consistent governance? Primarily speaking, the core of this apple is our Teachers. Based on this concept, Teacher retention and recruitment should be in alignment with corporate retention and recruitment; hiring the best and brightest to cultivate the minds and hearts of our student population.Rice (2003) state there is a great investment in Teacher pay and benefits. In 2002, our federal government invested $192 billion dollars of tax revenue to ensure our students receive a quality education. As a result, the achievement gap still exists between minorities and their white counterparts. Ensuring we recruit quality educators to increase teaching and learning should be consistent in all school districts within our nation. No Child Left Behind has challenged our US Department of Education, State Department of Education, and Local Education Agencies to close the achievement gap by 2014. Improving Teacher Retention and Recruitment will assist our Local Education Agencies in meeting our federal mandate.

Professional Learning Communities

In addition to improving Teacher Retention and Recruitment, Professional Learning Communities is the new buzz word in our nation’s schools. Professional Learning Communities is an extension of Professional Development Workshops for teachers to receive additional best practice strategies to impact student achievement. Unlike the traditional Professional Development Courses, Professional Learning Communities are studentcentered, data driven, and provide ongoing training in targeted areas of improvement. Teachers are like brain surgeons, they develop the mental and intellectual capacities of our youth to become value-added citizens in our society. When a doctor prepares for surgery, they will examine current and past medical records related to the illness, examine x-rays to precisely perform their medical procedure, and have his or her surgical team with the necessary technology, equipment, and tools to successfully assist their patients. The same holds true with Teachers. In order for Teachers to effectively enhance teaching and learning, Lezotte and Snyder (2011) suggest frequent monitoring of student progress and giving adequate feedback precisely and in a timely manner will contribute to improved learning. Professional Learning Communities will allow professional educators to conduct data talks reviewing current information from Formative Assessments to discuss students who have not mastered particular skills prior to moving forward with the curriculum. A direct correlation with being proactive in monitoring student progress is student success. Students who receive timely interventions will drastically improve within the classroom environment. Garland Independent School District (2009) revealed Brandenburg Middle School increased from 71% in 2004-2005 to a 90% passing rate in 2008-2009 in the area of Mathematics, according to the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills test (TAKS). Teachers actively monitoring the progress of students and determining the necessary interventions in Professional Learning Communities attributed to the success of this program. In addition to recruiting quality teachers, we must provide adequate resources and training to truly impact student learning.

In the life of a child, it is vital that we provide quality educators to produce intelligent and productive citizens within the workforce. No Child Left Behind mandates all school districts within the State Education Agencies to devise a plan to increase student achievement and close the achievement gap. All students must master their state mandated tests at a 100% pass rate by 2014. Ensuring that we recruit quality professional educators and provide them with the necessary resources to assist our youth, we will move forward in meeting this federal mandate, which will enhance our overall economy.

More About Kisha Howard

Building the Hearts and Minds of Educational Leaders in our Society

In 1997, Howard began her teaching career in Broward County Florida. She served as a Social Studies Teacher for Parkway Middle School under the leadership of Retired Area Director, Mr. Willie Dudley and a Reading Coach at Cypress Run Alternative School under the leadership of retired Principal Mr. William Lyons. During her tenure in the Broward County School system, Howard successfully formed Top of the Class Tutorial Services, serving thousands of students through companies such as The Urban League of Broward County, Henderson Mental Health, SOS Children’s Village, Several municipalities, and private clients for over 10 years. Arriving to Georgia in October of 2005 after Hurricane Wilma, she served as an Introduction to the English Language (IEL) teacher in the Cobb County School System. In August of 2006, she then became apart of the Fulton County School system.

As a valuable member of the Fulton County School system, she served as the ESOL Lead Teacher at Bear Creek Middle School (2006-2007), 8th Grade Administrator at Renaissance Middle School (2007-2008), and 10th and 12th Grade Administrator at Westlake High School (2008-2010). She also served in several administrative capacities, such as the Extended Learning programs and PLATO Credit Recovery, which assisted Westlake High School in meeting Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) in 2008-2009. Currently, Howard is the Secretary of the Fulton County Assistant Principal’s Association supporting all Assistant Principals with Professional Development opportunities, Networking Experience, and additional leadership opportunities to enhance the educational leaders of Fulton County.

As an Assistant Principal in Fulton County School System, Howard has worked closely with Teachers and Support Staff, Assistant Principals, Principals, Area Superintendents and other district personnel to enhance academic achievement, professional accountability, strategic planning, and stakeholder relations.

Howard graduated with honors and holds degrees from Florida A & M University (B.S. in Political Science education) and the University of Phoenix (Masters in Education Administration). She is currently pursuing a Doctorate in Business Administration (DBA) from the University of Phoenix. Kisha Howard currently is not married with no children, but dedicate her life to her lovely six nieces and nephews.

Kisha Howard, Editorial Writer can be reached at


Garland Independent School District (2009). Timely Intervention in Middle School Mathematics: Brandenburg Middle School Magnet. Texas Education Agency Best Practice Clearing House.

Lezotte, L. W. and Snyder, K. M. (2011). What Effective Schools Do: Re-Envisioning the Correlates. Solution Tree Press: Bloomington, IN, 93-94.

Rice, J. K. (August 2003). Teacher Quality: Understanding the Effectiveness of Teacher Attributes. Economic Policy Institute.