Our Approach

Strong districts must recruit, develop, and retain a pool of effective educators who are prepared to teach diverse learners.

CTAC assists districts to develop creative and nimble solutions to attract, train, and keep teachers and school leaders. We help districts to:

  • Take a multi-pronged approach to recruitment, development, and retention.
  • Identify the talent strategy elements that need to be strengthened for educators to grow and flourish in their careers.
  • Build the capacity of both newer teachers to become accomplished and of experienced teachers to become experts.

Our approach combines national best practices, innovative strategies, and local context to ensure success.

Our Experience

CTAC is a national leader in strengthening human capital management systems. From performance-based compensation to leadership development and cutting-edge research, CTAC has extensive experience helping states and districts achieve their recruitment, development, and retention goals.

  • Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. CTAC is working with the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) to evaluate a comprehensive, statewide effort for teacher recruitment and retention. Through a series of grants to local districts, DESE is supporting innovation and creativity at the district level to recruit and retain teachers. CTAC is evaluating four phases of this process to determine which strategies positively impact teacher recruitment and retention efforts and to understand how these strategies can be replicated and sustained in other locations.

“CTAC has been tremendously helpful in Missouri’s efforts to design and implement a statewide system for teacher recruitment and retention. Both CTAC’s technical assistance and evaluation support have been pivotal to advancing our initiative that involves more than 300 school districts and every educator preparatory program and community college in higher education in the state.”

– Paul Katnik, Assistant Commissioner, Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education

  • Tracy Unified School District. In California’s Tracy Unified School District, CTAC is assisting the AdvanceSTEM initiative to develop teacher STEM instructional ability and principal STEM instructional leadership ability. In particular, the initiative builds a diverse workforce through recruiting STEM teachers of color and creates a pipeline for effective STEM teachers of color to transition to school leadership positions.

“CTAC provided unparalleled assistance in designing and implementing pipelines for our teachers to develop their leadership abilities. They helped us create a Leadership Academy that develops key skills in our teachers and is aligned to our district goal of advancing STEM outcomes for students.”

– Rob Pecot, Superintendent of Tracy Unified School District

  • Denver Public Schools. CTAC assisted Denver Public Schools to develop, implement, and assess its groundbreaking performance-based appraisal and compensation initiative. CTAC research identified the benefits of high-quality student learning objectives and demonstrated their influence on student achievement. The work highlighted that linking what students learn to what teachers earn can be a catalyst for systemic change that benefits both students and teachers.

“CTAC provided critical assistance to the design team as it worked to get the pilot up and running, pushed the school district and union harder than they thought they could be pushed, and, most importantly, strove to ensure that the school district perceived the transformation of a compensation system as a whole-district reform effort, not an isolated teacher-pay experiment.”

– Phil Gonring et al. (Pay-for-Performance Teacher Compensation, 2007, p. 163)

Our Services

CTAC’s Center for Recruitment, Development, and Retention builds the capacity of our partners to implement a robust talent system which benefits educators and students. CTAC’s tools and services assist schools and districts to transform their practices, systems, and policies.

Highlighted services include:


Recruiting teachers who are passionate about and committed to teaching is one of the most important challenges a district can take on.

Why does this matter?

Districts across the U.S. are struggling to fill teaching positions. CTAC supports states and districts to take a multifaceted approach to teacher recruitment—from strengthening school culture, to changing human resource practices, to building pipelines for teachers and leaders. With our customizable recruitment strategies, districts can more effectively fill their open teaching positions.

Why take this approach?

CTAC can support your district to:

  • Transform and expand recruitment pipelines for teachers
  • Recruit professionals who have or can develop the capabilities to be effective in helping students learn
  • Transition teachers from novice to accomplished more quickly
  • Design mentoring programs that demonstrably benefit new teachers
  • Strengthen human capital management policies based on proven practices
We can help your district identify and implement action steps to take a broader strategic approach to teacher recruitment.

Contact Us
To begin revamping your recruitment strategies, contact us at ctac@ctacusa.com.
Hard-to-staff schools serve students in need, yet they often suffer from high teacher turnover and low achievement. One of the key factors that influences teacher recruitment and effectiveness is the quality of school leadership. CTAC supports districts to build the educational and organizational capacities of principals to lead schools that beat the odds.

Why does this matter?

School leadership impacts everything from student achievement to teacher recruitment and retention. The principal is the single most impactful individual at the school (Grissom et al., 2021). However, principal recruitment and retention in hard-to-staff schools is a challenge.

CTAC helps districts assess and answer the following questions:

  • What are effective principal recruitment and retention practices?
  • What is the right blend of financial incentives to help attract and retain principals?
  • What non-compensation incentives further entice principals to hard-to-staff locations?
  • What specific steps does the district need to take to ensure the success of principals in hard-to-staff schools?
Why take this approach?

CTAC uses a field-tested approach that keeps principals in place by surrounding them with the supports they need to be successful. With CTAC, you can leverage existing resources and strengths to create a lasting impact on your schools and students.

Our building blocks make it more attractive for principals to relocate to hard-to-staff schools, as well as dramatically increase the odds of their success. These include:

  • Home-grown initiatives that take into account the unique needs of each school
  • Incentives beyond monetary compensation
  • Resources that allow principals to thrive in their role
  • Levers for change that are grounded in research and proven leadership practices
  • Strategies from across sectors that lead to improved retention
Contact Us
To design targeted strategies that retain talented principals in your hard-to-staff locations, contact us at ctac@ctacusa.com.
The Assessment of Readiness and Capacity (ARC) is a comprehensive process aimed at addressing the needs of a human capital management system. It evaluates the preparedness and capabilities of key district staff and systems to ensure the successful and sustainable implementation of large-scale reform.

Why does this matter?

CTAC’s comprehensive ARC process allows districts to:

  • Establish a baseline for change. The ARC sets a starting point for meaningful change by guiding districts to focus on evidence, rather than intuitive assumptions, about what is and isn’t working. This assessment gives districts a solid foundation to implement reforms effectively.
  • Identify areas for improvement. Through interviews, surveys, and data analysis, the ARC process pinpoints the most critical areas needing improvement. This information is vital for districts aiming to boost student achievement and address issues hindering progress.
  • Plan strategically for implementation. CTAC assists districts in developing and implementing strategies to address issues related to student learning, school and district leadership, and teachers’ instructional practice.
Why take this approach?

A smart leader learns from their own mistakes. A wise leader learns from the errors of others. The Assessment of Readiness and Capacity enables district leaders to accomplish both. Whether navigating a new evaluation system or embarking on a human capital initiative, the ARC provides a structured pathway for your district to build upon existing initiatives, fortify strengths, and address gaps that are impeding progress.

CTAC’s ARC is an indispensable tool for forward-thinking leaders who are committed to ensuring their district’s large-scale initiatives yield optimal results.

Contact Us
To ensure that your district has the readiness and capacity to carry out your improvement strategies, contact us at ctac@ctacusa.com.


Induction is the process by which teachers become acculturated in a district. Effective induction not only invests in the short- and long-term effectiveness of its teachers, but also introduces important culture-building elements.

Why does this matter?

School districts throughout the country have seen a rise in the proportion of novice teachers in classrooms. Investing in a strong induction experience brings three benefits at once: training teachers in alignment with the district’s vision for excellent instruction, improving teacher retention, and increasing student achievement. A powerful induction program creates a collaborative culture that nurtures teachers so they continue to grow in effectiveness throughout their careers.

CTAC assists districts to answer strategic questions around induction, including:

  • Are we analyzing our current system of induction through the lens of evidence-based national best practices on how adults learn best?
  • Have we correctly identified the individual needs of novice teachers?
  • Where can we make improvements to the way we deliver induction?
  • How can we strengthen the collaborative culture among all teachers?
  • What does it mean to build the capacity of individual novice teachers to improve practices?
Why take this approach?

CTAC supports districts in developing and implementing a comprehensive, multi-year induction program. The program builds off of a clear and powerful vision of effective instruction, which CTAC can lead the district to create if it is not already in place. CTAC’s induction support for districts simultaneously strengthens and streamlines the overall induction strategy in the district while targeting the needs of individual novice teachers. By partnering with CTAC you gain access to:

  • Tools to analyze existing induction practices against standards for optimal practices
  • Templates for a strong induction program, including protocols and sequencing options
  • Training for coaches and principals to optimize their interactions with novice teachers
  • Resources for building a strong and collaborative school culture
Contact Us
To create an induction program that supports teachers’ growth throughout their careers, contact us at ctac@ctacusa.com.
CTAC’s coaching approach both builds the capacity of teachers and helps executive leaders create a culture in which constant improvement becomes the norm. CTAC helps coaches become more effective in their roles and also provides a support structure for new coaches.

Why does this matter?

The education field is seeing an influx of teachers who are alternatively certificated and need more intensive support to succeed in the classroom. Coaching is among the most powerful methods for improving performance—but it requires a well-organized program with a strong methodology. At CTAC, we apply principles from research on adult learning, brain research, and implementation science into a more effective approach to human capacity building.

Why take this approach?

CTAC builds the capacity of districts to strengthen their coaching systems and enhance the coaching skills of their district and school leaders. We strengthen the ability of principals, assistant principals, instructional coaches, and teacher leaders to coach others with impact.

CTAC uses the latest wisdom across sectors to train individuals to develop key coaching skills such as:

  • Defining purpose in their coaching role
  • Developing their subject area expertise
  • Establishing trust with coachees
  • Supporting individual growth
  • Realizing impact on student achievement
Contact Us
To take your coaches to the next level of impact, contact us at ctac@ctacusa.com.
High-quality professional development is essential for sparking continuous improvement and innovation among educators. CTAC's Professional Development Audit is a vital tool for district leaders, enabling informed decision-making and a thorough analysis of investments. Ensure your district maximizes benefits from professional development investments with CTAC's proven track record across prominent school systems nationwide.

Why does this matter?

The commitment of resources to professional development represents a substantial investment of time and money for districts. Understanding the measurable impact on student academic achievement, teaching effectiveness, and educator viewpoints is essential for strategic decision-making.

CTAC’s Professional Development Audit delivers valuable insights, empowering districts to fine-tune their professional development initiatives for maximum effectiveness.

Why take this approach?

CTAC employs a precise and customized approach for professional development audits by:

  • Focusing on programs, grades, or subjects chosen by the district
  • Informing improvements to professional development through the integrated analysis of student academic growth, teacher effectiveness, teacher perceptions, and financial expenditures
  • Providing districts with extensive insights on their objectives, agendas, and long-term strategies
CTAC enables you to make informed decisions to optimize the effectiveness of your professional development initiatives.

Contact Us
To elevate your professional development offerings for maximum effectiveness, contact us at ctac@ctacusa.com.


The lesson of performance-based compensation is one of institutional change. The focus on student learning, and a teacher's contribution to that learning, can be a significant catalyst for systemwide change—if the initiative also addresses the district factors that shape the schools.

Why does this matter?

Many initiatives approach performance-based compensation with the misconception that it is a simple solution, a quick fix. The reality is that it represents large-scale change that requires understanding the challenges of implementation, sustainability, and having district-wide support.

Why take this approach?

As a national leader in performance-based compensation, CTAC helps districts achieve success by focusing on compensation reform that is:

  • Systemic. Teachers’ instructional success requires support from multiple district systems. Putting compensation on the line creates a powerful incentive to upgrade the quality of those systems and ensure their alignment—with each other and with teachers’ real needs.
  • Done with teachers, not to teachers. Success requires that partners be willing to redefine traditional relationships and create the new forms of collaboration necessary for developing and implementing the plans. Building trust and two-way communication is crucial.
  • Organizationally sustainable. Sustainability requires commitment from the boardroom to the classroom. Change involves upgrading and aligning the entire district in support of classroom instruction.
  • Financially sustainable. At the front end of the initiative, districts must project and plan for the financing required for long-term sustainability—anticipating possible future budget crunches or changes in leadership.
  • Broadly supported. Constituency building is key as there needs to be a broad base of support in both the district and the community.
  • Focused on students. The effort can’t lose sight of the goal of student academic growth. CTAC helps districts use multiple, valid measures of student learning to identify student progress and ascertain the contributions of educators to that progress.
When implemented strategically, performance-based compensation does more than simply reward excellence—it fosters excellence by expanding a district’s capacity to support classrooms and improving teaching quality.

Contact Us
To foster excellence in your district through performance-based compensation, contact us at ctac@ctacusa.com.
A Leadership Academy is a formal professional learning structure for both aspiring and current school leaders that focuses on developing executive leadership skills, increasing cross-sectoral knowledge and specialization, and building best practices in line with the district vision.

Why does this matter?

CTAC provides the comprehensive, field-proven support needed to build the capacity of school leaders in your district. We can help you to:

  • Draw from research and best practices across the corporate, education, and community development sectors to inform leadership approaches
  • Align leadership development with the strategic direction of the district
  • Provide school leaders with a framework that sets them up to be the lead learners in their school community
  • Move cohorts through an effective system centered on practical experiences and network building to help them assume leadership roles more effectively and expeditiously
Why take this approach?

Effective leadership academies meet the learning needs of both new and experienced principals as guided by our framework:

  • Create a problem-solving network of school-level leaders
  • Identify future leaders for schools
  • Induct new principals into the profession
  • Support the principal or leadership team planning with data or other information
  • Incorporate new leadership practices or school improvement strategies
CTAC’s Leadership Academies build districts’ capacity to develop and retain strong leaders in key areas aligned with their strategic vision.

Contact Us
To design and implement a Leadership Academy tailored to your district’s needs, contact us at ctac@ctacusa.com.
Career ladders offer teachers a clear vision for their future and support for professional and personal growth. Career ladders also should provide teachers with the recognition and resources that acknowledge their success in the classroom.

Why does this matter?

When effectively implemented, career ladders contribute directly to greater teacher retention. CTAC supports teachers at all stages of their career by providing pathways that pay off, including:

  • Developing teachers to become school leaders through tailored Leadership Academies
  • Training teachers to become Instructional Team Leaders with structured selection processes, professional development, and clear school systems
  • Supporting paraprofessionals by investing in cohort models that build key skills to prepare them to become teachers
  • Providing more students with access to quality teaching
Why take this approach?

Through intentional investment in teachers of all experience levels, CTAC supports districts to:

  • Increase teachers’ impact on student success
  • Improve the morale of teachers
  • Provide customized learning opportunities that meet the needs of both new and experienced teachers
  • Expand the impact and visibility of teacher leaders
CTAC assists you to incentivize teachers to build their career plans in-district.

Contact Us
If you’re ready to design pathways that allow your teachers to learn and grow in-district, contact us at ctac@ctacusa.com.