FIRST GRADE TEACHER, HAMILTON COUNTY
As a student and now as a teacher, Jonathan Brown has noticed that one of the biggest factors affecting student achievement from year to year continues to be teacher retention. When students consistently have great teachers in the classroom both achievement and culture positively increase. Graduating from Sewanee: The University of the South in 2018 with a Bachelor of Arts in American Studies and minors in both Psychology and Education, the historical, psychological, and structural barriers affecting teacher retention prompted Jonathan to join Project Inspire teacher residency in Chattanooga where he gained a Master of Arts in Teaching from Lee University in 2019. Since stepping into the classroom as a first-grade teacher in Hamilton County, Jonathan has continued his passion for educational equity by combining the eye-opening experiences and challenges as a teacher with action:
“Teachers of color leave the profession at 19%, while white teachers are leaving at 15%. The numbers were shocking, but seeing this firsthand in my first year motivated me to start an affinity group through Project Inspire to support and uplift residents and alumni of color in this program and alleviate some of the early stressors prompting teacher retention.”
While there are many barriers to teacher retention, lack of support continues to be one of the biggest factors as to why teachers leave and as a member of the Educator Diversity Council, Jonathan will continue to look for data-based solutions that push to support and uplift teachers of color in the state of Tennessee.