Our history

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CTQ’s current efforts to engage teachers and administrators as co-leaders of learning, teaching, and leading is a new way of thinking about school improvement. But our collective leadership work today grows out of decades of focused research, innovative practice, networked learning, and thought leadership.

A hub for research & ideas

Southeast Center for Teaching Quality staff, in 2003

Southeast Center for Teaching Quality staff at the Hillsborough, NC office (2003).

The Center for Teaching Quality (CTQ) got its start in 1998, when Barnett Berry founded the organization with a grant from the BellSouth Foundation. The young think tank focused on how to improve teaching and close the achievement gap in schools.

Over the next seven years, staff tackled a wide range of projects with research partners: assessing the impact of No Child Left Behind, documenting the influence of high-stakes accountability on teachers’ professional development, analyzing how to recruit and retain accomplished teachers, and identifying innovative models of teacher preparation.

A connector for educators

Bob Hughes, now serving as Director of K-12 Education for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and NYC teachers Ariel Sacks, José Vilson, and Stephen Lazar (L to R) discuss Teacherpreneurs at Ford Foundation convening (2014).

In the early 2000s, we launched the Teacher Leaders Network (TLN). We learned how this first virtual community of practice for teacher leaders could elevate their voices of expertise on education policy and practice. This work grounded the our skill in building and sustaining virtual communities among the busiest of educators.

As practitioners became more integrated into our ongoing work, their ideas and expertise increasingly informed CTQ’s research and and thought leadership through various publications, reports, and books, including TEACHING 2030 and Teacherpreneurs.

We continued to elevate teachers’ voices and build communities through our TeacherSolutions teams, TLN networks, New Millennium Initiative, and finally, in 2013, the CTQCollab, an incubator for teachers’ bold ideas and innovative solutions. In recent years, we’ve brought educators together for storytelling retreats and collective leadership workshops to drive change in public schools, as well as championed the creation and growth of Teacher-Powered Schools.

A lab for innovation

Julie Hiltz and Jennifer Barnett

Teacher Julie Hiltz (L) and staffer Jennifer Barnett collaborate during a CTQ-hosted storytelling retreat (2016).

Over the past two decades, we’ve invested in research to create learning experiences that prepare educators to further support and develop teacher leadership. Cultivating Communities for Impact (CCI), a learning tool that supports educators to use their skills and knowledge to build trust and generate results, provides a solid foundation for sustaining online learning and leadership that focuses on improvement and innovation.

We’ve also worked with districts and states to advance hybrid roles for teachers (“teacherpreneurs”). We promote the adoption of micro-credentials as a means to modernize professional learning and use new impact assessment and storytelling tools to help educators share success stories and spread new approaches and ideas for better teaching.

A partner for systems

A teacher observes a student

Teacher-Powered Schools National Conference attendees learn from students during a school tour (2017).

Over the years, CTQ has been dedicated and committed to teachers and their roles in improving education. But we’ve also learned that even the most exceptional teachers can’t make big changes alone. Meaningful change needs teachers, administrators, and system leaders collaborating to find and implement meaningful changes.

In 2017, we rededicated our work to help bring these groups together to create better schools for every student. As CTQ enters into our twentieth year, we remain focused and guided in our vision for an education system that works better for every student.