Recruitment and Retention

Blue Ribbon Commission

The State Board of Education’s Teacher Recruitment and Retention Blue Ribbon Commission presented their final recommendations to the State Board of Education at their meeting in October 2022, detailing immediate, short-term, and long-term solutions to address teacher recruitment and retention in Missouri. The Commission was charged with delivering a report that would provide a summary of the Commission’s work along with clear action steps, suggested legislative and policy changes, and any other specific and measurable strategies recommended to address teacher recruitment and retention challenges in Missouri. Click here to read more about the Commission.

TEACH Missouri

TEACH Missouri is a new, statewide initiative committed to improving the perception of the teaching profession and developing a statewide teacher recruitment and retention system to attract the next generation of Missouri teachers. The initiative is being led by the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) in collaboration with education institutions, government agencies, associations, community organizations, and nonprofit stakeholders.

Over the next three years, the state is investing significant funds to recruit and retain teacher talent. As a part of this commitment, TEACH Missouri will be a coordination of a number of projects and work streams that focus on teacher recruitment and teacher retention. Specifically, TEACH Missouri includes improving teacher compensation as well as identifying, cultivating, and supporting teachers across the state.

Career Ladder Program 

The Missouri Career Development and Teacher Excellence Plan (Career Ladder Program) is a voluntary performance pay matching program established by statute. The General Assembly makes an annual appropriation for the purpose of providing the state's share of the Career Ladder Program. The Career Ladder Grant Program supports salary supplements for teaching staff to provide compensation for additional responsibilities and voluntary efforts performed for which a teacher does not already receive some type of compensation.  The career advancement program is a matching fund program. Up to 60 percent of the additional salary supplement shall come from state grant funds, and the remaining amount not less than 40 percent and any related benefit costs coming from local sources. This grant is subject to appropriation on an annual basis.

Teacher Baseline Salary Grants

The Fiscal Year 2023 budget includes $21.8 million for a new Teacher Baseline Salary Grant program designed to increase teacher salaries in many local education agencies (LEAs) across the state. Qualifying LEAs can apply for grant funds to boost their teacher salary levels to a baseline amount of $38,000. LEAs that currently employ teachers making between $25,000 and $38,000 per full-time equivalent (FTE) are eligible to apply. Under this grant opportunity, up to 70 percent of the additional funds to increase teacher salary levels to $38,000 would come from state grant funds. The remaining 30 percent and related benefit costs would come from local sources. Applications for the grant are due on Friday, July 15, 2022.

Teacher Recruitment and Retention Grants

Federal funds are now available for every school district, charter school, educator preparation program, and community college in the state to further invest in teacher candidate recruitment and teacher retention. Guidance can be found here

For more information regarding statewide efforts on Grow Your Own (recruitment), contact the GYO State Coordinator, Sandy Humbyrd, EdD, NBCT, Missouri Teacher Development System (MTDS).

State GYO Coordinator
Sandy Humbyrd, EdD, NBCT
Missouri Teacher Development System (MTDS)
All recruitment and retention grants are participating in a four phase evaluation process to determine the use and effectiveness of recruitment and retention strategies. The data from the first two phases of this evaluation have been completed and are posted below.

Digital Teacher Recruitment Platform now serves as a centralized hub for prospective teachers to explore the profession, access free and comprehensive  resources (e.g., inspirational videos from fellow Missouri teachers, Certification Guides) and receive support in applying to Educator Preparation Programs (EPPs) throughout the state (e.g., 1:1 coaching, financial incentives, application checklists).

Statewide Public Service Advertising (PSA) 

TV and radio ads, as well as various digital marketing campaigns, will elevate the perception of the teaching profession and generate interest among future teachers. View the PSA video here.

Pathways to Teaching Careers 

A new teacher “externship” program provides regional training sessions for teachers to become recruiters within their own school communities, mobilizing them as ambassadors for the profession.

Outreach Plan

Outreach Plan Presentations

Grow Your Own Resource Guide

Federal and State Reports

Educator Vacancy Report, March 2022

The data presented in the 2022 Vacancy Report was gathered through the Educator Vacancy page (Screen 21) of the Core Data System. This year’s data reflects a 77.4% response rate. Those districts who responded this year employ over 57,700 teachers or 81.7% of the those in the state, and serve over 732,000 students or 82.4% of Missouri students. Three areas with the largest number of vacancies are Elementary Education, Mild/Moderate Cross Categorical, and Physical Education. 

Recruitment and Retention Annual Report, 2022

The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education is required to prepare an annual report to the Missouri General Assembly about the status of the teacher workforce in Missouri public schools. 

Approved Teacher Shortage Report, 2023-24

The U.S. Department of Education has approved the content areas listed in the 2023-24 Teacher Shortage Report as areas of critical shortage for the State of Missouri. Based on this designation, teachers that are teaching within shortage areas identified by this report are eligible for loan forgiveness. Federal loans that qualify under this designation include the Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL), Federal Perkins Loan, Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant Program, Stafford Loan, and Supplemental Loans for Students (SLS). For more information please visit the U.S. Department of Education – Teacher Shortage webpage.

​Loan Forgiveness-For questions concerning Federal Stafford/SLS loans, including the teacher shortage area deferment, contact the Federal Student Aid Hotline at 800-433-3243. More information may be found at the Federal Student Aid site.


The Missouri Department of Higher Education & Workforce Development administers the grant and scholarship programs.