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Ellen Moir named Ashoka Fellow

Innovative approach to accelerating new teacher effectiveness earns Ellen Moir, New Teacher Center founder and CEO, the Ashoka global, social entrepreneur fellowship

Santa Cruz, CA (November 15, 2011) – Focusing on teachers so students succeed has earned New Teacher Center founder and CEO Ellen Moir election to Ashoka’s global fellowship of leading social entrepreneurs in more than sixty countries. Selection criteria include the newness and social impact of the idea, demonstrated creativity in problem solving and the entrepreneurial quality of the founder. Moir was selected for the Ashoka fellowship for her innovative approach to accelerating new teacher effectiveness – and with it, student learning.

After becoming convinced through her own work and research that new teachers everywhere lacked the support they needed to survive and thrive in the classroom, Moir launched the New Teacher Center (NTC) to improve student learning by making new teachers better, faster. Since then, the organization has expanded significantly. In the last academic year, over 24,000 new teachers in the U.S. received instructional mentoring and professional development support from over 7,500 NTC trained mentors, and over 1.4 million students had a better new teacher in their classroom as a result.

A global organization, Ashoka supports those who share qualities traditionally associated with leading business entrepreneurs – vision, innovation, determination and long-term commitment – but are committed to systemicsocial change in their fields. Ashoka Fellows work in every area of human need, including learning/youth development, the environment, health, human rights, economic development and civic participation and are recognized for their innovative solutions to some of society’s most pressing social problems.

Moir was the first to develop a scalable solution to address a disturbing trend – brilliant new teachers leave the classroom early in their careers, overwhelmed and discouraged, before they even reach their full potential. Through her work and the creation of New Teacher Center, she has become a leader in beginning teacher development and in driving systemic change in human capital management within school districts. Now, working in all 50 states and internationally, she wants to reach more new teachers and more students. “I want to make sure every underprivileged child in America has a great teacher and that there is intensive support for new teachers throughout the country, especially in underserved areas,” states Moir with commitment.

To date, New Teacher Center has already demonstrated substantial impact:

  • NTC programs are improving teacher retention. In the Santa Cruz New Teacher Project (SCNTP), which uses NTC principles of induction, retention was 32 percentage points better than the national average. Rates of retention are even higher (up to 94%) when transitions to leadership roles are included.
  • U.S Department of Education research that included NTC work found that beginning teachers who received two years of comprehensive induction support produced greater student learning gainswhen compared with those who received less intensive mentoring.

Moir is recognized as a passionate advocate for the nation’s newest teachers. Prior to founding New Teacher Center she had a distinguished career in public education, having served as Director of Teacher Education at the University of California at Santa Cruz and before that as a bilingual teacher. She is a recipient of the 2011 Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship, the 2010 Civic Ventures Purpose Prize Fellow, 2008 National Staff Development Council Contribution to the Field award; the 2008 Full Circle Fund Impact Award; the Harold W. McGraw, Jr. 2005 Prize in Education; and the 2003 California Council on Teacher Education Distinguished Teacher Educator Award.


Ashoka: Innovators for the Publicis a global association of the world’s leading social entrepreneurs—individuals with innovative, large scale ideas for addressing social problems. They address every area of human need – from human rights to the environment, from full economic citizenship to empowering young people.  Since its founding in 1980, Ashoka has enabled more than 2,500 leading social entrepreneurs in over 60 countries. Ashoka’s modest investments in early-stage entrepreneurs consistently yield extraordinary returns. Its inclusion and recognition of later-stage social entrepreneurs are catalytic to the community. Working in partnership with Ashoka Fellows, Ashoka builds communities of innovators who work collectively to transform society and design new ways for citizen-led solutions to become more productive, entrepreneurial and globally integrated.Ashoka does not accept government funding; business entrepreneurs, corporations, individuals, foundations and volunteer chapters finance Ashoka’s work.

About New Teacher Center (NTC)

New Teacher Center seeks to reduce the achievement gap in our nation’s schools by accelerating the effectiveness of new teachers through comprehensive mentoring and professional development programs. NTC partners with school districts, policymakers and leaders in education to implement programs that build leadership capacity, enhance working conditions, improve teacher retention and transform schools into vibrant learning communities. Founded in 1998, NTC headquarters are in Santa Cruz, California.

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Yael Bailey