TeachMichigan launched with $30M State investment, serves as model for systemic change

Detroit – Teach For America (TFA) Detroit has launched TeachMichigan, a talent strategy that deepens TFA’s investment in Detroit, while extending investment and enrichment to support high-impact educators and their students in under-resourced schools among five additional Michigan communities – Kentwood, Saginaw, Sault Saint Marie, Traverse City and Benzie County. TeachMichigan’s goal is to recruit, retain and develop over 700 high-impact teachers and improve the outcomes for over 200,000 students in under-resourced schools statewide over the next five years.

The TeachMichigan program is adapted from the work TFA Detroit has done with educator fellowships since 2019 that has resulted in an over 95% retention rate among high-impact educators in Detroit schools. TeachMichigan fellows in partnering schools serving high numbers of economically disadvantaged children will be eligible to receive up to $35,000 in financial awards, as well as receive an average of 10 hours per month in professional development and individualized coaching and engagement activities with other fellows.

Fellows will participate in one of three cohorts: early career educators, focused on newer educators seeking to strengthen their skills in the classroom; nationally board-certified educators, focused on more tenured educators looking to pursue certification; and aspiring leaders, for experienced teachers seeking to take on an a more administrative or supervisory role in a school or school system.

“The problems facing our educators and students are not a people problem, they’re a systems problem,” said Armen Hratchian, Executive Director, TFA Detroit. “TeachMichigan is directly investing in educators and leaders in systemically under-resourced communities because we know those are the people who are best positioned to change the long-term outcomes for our kids, and to build better systems for all teachers to be more valued.”

TFA Detroit is striving to make Michigan the best place to be a teacher and developed TeachMichigan to address the stark realities of the state’s growing teacher shortage and systemically disparate outcomes for students growing up in low-income communities and communities of color across Michigan.

Because of decades of underinvestment in students and the teachers that support them each day – students are not universally succeeding in Michigan’s education system; outcomes are considerably worse for students of color and those growing up in low-income communities. Currently, Michigan ranks 43rd nationally for 4th grade reading proficiency and 36th for 4th grade math scores. In 2022, Michigan dropped into the bottom five for fourth grade reading among Black students and only 38.5% of students in low-income communities in Michigan enrolled in college, compared to 62.8% who are not economically disadvantaged.

The teacher shortage is worsening, and a teaching career is neither competitive nor attractive to today’s young professionals. In recent years, there has been a near 70% drop in enrollment in Michigan teacher preparation programs, and on average teachers make 23.5% lower earnings than other college graduates.

TeachMichigan was inspired by the transformational work TFA has conducted over the last five years to restructure and grow its program in Detroit. Soon after Hratchian took the helm of TFA Detroit in 2018, he made the strategic decision to redirect resources from its standard corps model into teacher retention strategies, while simultaneously investing deeply in spaces for educator development and wellness. TFA Detroit’s original mid-career fellowship, launched in 2019, focused on supporting high-impact educators to achieve National Board Certification in a supportive cohort. Today, TFA Detroit is Michigan’s largest and most diverse pool of National Board Certification candidates.

After three years of successfully scaling the fellowship programs, TFA Detroit is recruiting, retaining and developing the largest and most diverse pipeline of high-impact teachers and leaders in Michigan. Among the over 100 TFA Detroit fellows/educators, 65% are people of color and have an average of 5.5 years of experience, and together they reach over 30,000 Detroit students. TFA Detroit has also achieved a 100% satisfaction rate by partnering school principals. Initial research has shown that students in TFA Detroit Fellows’ classrooms demonstrated strong growth in math and reading compared to socioeconomically similar peers.

The outcomes of TeachMichigan are intended to inform a statewide policy roadmap that results in systemic change to retain high-impact educators in under-resourced schools.

“This is an incredibly visionary investment from the state, a signal that they are deeply committed to ensuring the communities and schools that serve our highest-need children and families are equipped to attract and more importantly grow and retain powerful educators,” said Punita Dani Thurman, Vice President, Program and Strategy, The Skillman Foundation and Co-Chair of the Launch Michigan Coalition. “There are many conversations and interests in transforming Michigan’s K12 education system, this investment is a powerful and important investment to spur and seed that work. Expanding the impactful work that TFA Detroit has seeded across key geographies in Michigan provides a really important learning ground for all of us to better understand how to transform the conditions and supports for educators.”

TeachMichigan was made possible through an unprecedented commitment by the State of Michigan to help scale TFA Detroit’s model statewide. In 2022, the State committed $30 million of TFA Detroit’s $60 million strategy to retain, recruit and enrich 700 high-impact teachers across the state. TFA Detroit is actively fundraising the remainder of program costs. TFA Detroit, and the development of the TeachMichigan initiative, has also benefited from the generous support of TFA Detroit funders, including Skillman Foundation, W.K. Kellogg Foundation, Detroit Children’s Fund, United Way for Southeastern Michigan, AmeriCorps: Michigan, Masco Corporation, Ford Motor Fund and Bank of America.

To learn more about TeachMichigan, visit www.teachmi.org and follow along on social media @Teach__Michigan.





Since 2010, TFA Detroit has recruited, trained, and supported more than 900 teachers in DPSCD and charter schools across the city. To learn more, visit www.tfadetroit.org/

Teach For America works in partnership with 350 urban and rural communities across the country to expand educational opportunities for children. Founded in 1990, Teach For America recruits and develops a diverse corps of outstanding leaders who make an initial two-year commitment to teach in high-need schools and become lifelong leaders in the effort to end educational inequity. Today, Teach For America is a force of over 64,000 alumni and corps members working in over 9,000 schools nationwide in pursuit of profound systemic change. From classrooms to districts to state houses across America, they are reimagining education to realize the day when every child has an equal opportunity to learn, lead, thrive and co-create a future filled with possibility. Teach For America is a proud member of the AmeriCorps national service network. For more information, visit www.teachforamerica.org and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.


Lauren Detwiler
VVK PR + Creative
P: 248-884-1421

Terrence West
TFA Detroit
P: 313-469-3859