Message from the Director

Dr. Jan Riggsbee

PURPOSE, PASSION, PROBLEM-SOLVING, and EMPOWERMENT anchor the mission and work of Duke TeachHouse as a program and Duke TeachHouse Fellows as emerging teacher-leaders and innovators in the field. 

PURPOSE… Through the support of Duke partners and the local schools and business community, Duke TeachHouse offers a new and innovative program and partnership model to recruit, support, and retain highly qualified and emerging teacher-leaders in K-12 schools and address the challenges and issues surrounding teacher burnout, attrition, and retention. With nearly 50% of the teaching force leaving the classroom within the first five years of their career, these challenges are critical to the health and wellbeing of our public education system and must be addressed in a thoughtful, timely, and purposeful manner.

PASSION… At the heart of a teacher’s craft is a genuine passion for the art of teaching and a joy of learning and discovery. As early-career teachers, TeachHouse Fellows are encouraged and supported to bring their unique passions to their classroom, school, district, and peer-learning community. From committee work at the school sites to participating and speaking at district, state, and national meetings to exploring innovative practices through summer fellowships and internship programs, TeachHouse Fellows are continually seeking opportunities to grow and voice their passions.

PROBLEM SOLVING… TeachHouse provides a safe space for solving problems and brainstorming solutions. And, central to this process is the design and launch of Innovation Projects at the school sites. With support of Fellows and mentors at TeachHouse as well as colleagues and administrators at the school sites, Fellows identify a critical school priority or need and with a faculty team design and launch an innovation that will have a positive impact on the school community.

EMPOWERMENT… Empowering teacher voice is central to the TeachHouse model. The first year of the fellowship focuses on navigating the school community and building relationships, and the second year adds to this focus through collaborative leadership opportunities via innovation projects and site-based work. Furthermore, peer-mentoring and community dinners with leading educators and innovators in the field provide opportunities for TeachHouse Fellows to think about policy and reform in new and innovative ways and for teacher voice to be shared and heard through informal dialogues.

As Director of Duke TeachHouse and a former public school teacher and administrator, I too am passionate about and empowered by this purposeful and innovative work around early career teacher support and am honored to be part of the TeachHouse community.