Recruitment and Retention

Blue Ribbon Commission

The State Board of Education’s Teacher Recruitment and Retention Blue Ribbon Commission was charged with delivering a report to the State Board, which provided 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. Based on the Commission Goals listed below, the group divided their work into the following phases, representing the two primary factors that contribute to teacher recruitment and retention issues:

  • Phase 1: Teacher Pay (June-October 2022)
  • Phase 2: Climate & Culture for Teachers (March-June 2023)

Click here to read more about the Commission. You can also review the Commission’s Phase 1 recommendations related to teacher pay — see the summary as well as the full report.

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.

Career Ladder Program Annual Report

This Career Ladder Program Annual Report provides information on district activities, state and district funding and is used to monitor progress on the impact of the Career Ladder Program.

Teacher Baseline Salary Grants

As part of the fiscal year 2025 (FY 2025) state budget, qualifying local education agencies (LEAs) can apply for grant funds to boost their teacher salary to a baseline amount of $40,000. LEAs that currently employ teachers making at least $25,000 and less than $40,000 per full time equivalent (FTE) are eligible to apply.

This grant supports salary increases for teaching staff to ensure they receive a baseline salary of
$38,000, with 100 percent of the additional salary and related payroll benefits coming from state grant funds. While the FY 2024 budget awaits final approval, this guidance is provided in preparation for a rapid application process to support the required implementation timeline. This grant is subject to appropriation on an annual basis.

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 questions regarding Teacher Recruitment and Retention Grant contact:

Coordinator Educator Development
Bobbie Jo Lewis, Ed.D.

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.

Grant Evaluation Phase III

Grant Evaluation Phase II
Grant Evaluation Phase I

Grow Your Own Statewide Program

Grow Your Own Grants

Having excellent teachers is vital to the success of each student. With the current teacher shortage, this can be very challenging. One solution is to grow your own. Missouri school districts are developing their own teacher pipeline. By attracting and supporting students and non-certified staff in their own schools to be future teachers, these districts are working to ensure excellent education for all.

The state of Missouri's Fiscal Year 2024 budget includes funding for the Grow Your Own Grant program, which is designed to increase recruitment of quality teachers in local education agencies (LEAs) across the state. Qualifying LEAs can apply for grant funds to create or strengthen a Grow Your Own teacher program. The state of Missouri’s Fiscal Year 2024 budget includes funding for the Grow Your Own Grant program, which is designed to increase recruitment of quality teachers in local education agencies (LEAs) across the state. Qualifying LEAs can apply for grant funds to create or strengthen a Grow Your Own teacher program.

For specific questions about the application process, please review the Grow Your Own memo for information pertaining to this grant program. 

Click here to view a list of the School Districts that were selected for the grant award.

Grow Your Own Network.

Districts around the state have the opportunity to connect, learn and grow together in regional meetings. Watch this video to hear State Grow Your Own Coordinator, Dr. Sandy Humbyrd, describe these unique opportunities for all districts.

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, Ed.D., NBCT
Missouri Teacher Development System (MTDS)

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, May 2024

Educator Vacancy Report, May 2023

The data presented in the 2023 Vacancy Report was gathered through the Educator Vacancy page (Screen 21) of the Core Data System. This year’s data reflects a 72% response rate. Those districts who responded this year employ approximately 58,000 teachers or 80.5% of those in the state and serve over 733,000 students or 81.6% of Missouri students. The three areas with the largest number of vacancies are Elementary Education, Special Education, and Physical Education. 


Recruitment and Retention Annual Report, 2023

Missouri Statute (161.098 RSMo) directs the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to prepare and distribute an annual report to the Missouri General Assembly about the status of the teacher workforce in Missouri public schools by December 15 of each year. 


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 who 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.

Also included are content areas listed as High Need Shortage Areas. These might be eligible for some type of federal loan forgiveness as well. They are not eligible for a TEACH Grant unless it is a universally accepted shortage area, i.e., mathematics; science, including, but not limited to, computer science; foreign language; bilingual education; English language acquisition; reading specialist; or special education. More information can be found here (include hyperlink). Missouri’s High Need Shortage Areas for 2023-24 are universally accepted shortage areas.


Substitute Teacher Survey Report, 2023-24

Substitute Teacher Survey Report, 2022-23

Legislation was passed and signed into law in 2022 (Section 168.037, RSMo) that directed the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) to create a web-based survey to be completed by individuals each day they worked as a substitute teacher. DESE created the online survey and distributed it to all school districts and charter schools at the beginning of the 2022-23 school year with the directions to provide the link to this survey to each substitute teacher for each day they worked in their schools.

The online survey was to collect anonymous, unbiased data that school districts, charter schools, and state officials could use to improve the effectiveness of substitute teachers in supporting instruction and learning and to improve any factors contributing to the shortage of substitute teachers.

This report summarizes the findings from over 73,000 survey responses collected during the 2022-23 school year. Please note that it is unclear how many individuals completed this survey, as substitute teachers were asked to complete the survey each day they served.

Loan Forgiveness

Please see here for information on the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) website concerning the Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program.

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.

For additional information regarding the grants and scholarships program, please see here.