Mr. Cunningham at Visitation Valley Middle School speaks with students during the first day of school. (Jessica Christian/2017 S.F. Examiner)

Mr. Cunningham at Visitation Valley Middle School speaks with students during the first day of school. (Jessica Christian/2017 S.F. Examiner)

SFUSD committed to recruiting high-quality educators

It’s no secret that teachers play an important role in shaping a child’s development.

I remember some of my own favorite teachers from growing up in the San Francisco Unified School District, the teachers who challenged me, supported me and inspired me to pursue a career in education. Mr. Chalmers at J .Eugene McAteer High School was just one of the many examples for me. He believed in me, had faith in my abilities and pushed me to my limits.

At the SFUSD, we take pride in hiring outstanding teachers to fulfill our mission of providing each and every student with the quality instruction and equitable support they need to thrive in the 21st century. We pair our commitment to social justice with our vision that every student who attends an SFUSD school will discover their spark and achieve a strong sense of self and purpose.

SEE RELATED: Different paths to classroom draw diverse talent

As we approach the end of this school year and prepare for next year, I want to put out the call to all prospective educators who are inspired by our mission. While we deeply value teacher candidates who come from traditional preparation programs, we are also seeking talented people from diverse backgrounds and experiences who are motivated to unleash our students’ potential.

Given the national teacher shortage, and the housing crisis that’s hitting San Francisco particularly hard, we are recruiting people who are strong collaborators, skilled communicators and problem-solvers, and those who are comfortable in a community of continuous learning. We then work to prepare them to excel in our classrooms through our teacher preparation programs.

Last year, we began offering Pathway to Teaching, which is the first district-sponsored teacher credentialing program. This one-year program prepares those who are already working in our school communities (paraprofessionals, substitute teachers and after-school service providers) to earn their credential while teaching in a classroom. Participants receive intensive training and regular coaching from an experienced teacher coach, lead their own classrooms and complete online and in-person coursework. These new teachers earn a full salary while they earn their preliminary credential.

The San Francisco Teacher Residency is a university-union district partnership that combines a yearlong classroom apprenticeship with targeted, master’s level coursework. It gives participants hands-on experience in the classroom and ongoing support essential for successful careers in teaching.

The NYU Steinhardt Teacher Residency is a partnership that combines a full-year teaching residency under the guidance of an SFUSD teaching mentor with a master’s degree program taught by world-class NYU faculty and in-person coaching. Residents receive tuition support from SFUSD and are paid during their residency year.

Trellis Education trains and supports a professional learning community of highly effective STEM teachers in the SFUSD to mentor our beginning teachers. These “mentor fellows” provide five years of individualized support to new teachers, including targeted support to enact the Common Core and Next Generation Science Standards-aligned teaching practices that have been proven to facilitate student learning.

The Para-to-Teacher Program assists current SFUSD paraprofessionals and classified staff who want to become teachers. Candidates who have experience with youth or have considered teaching as a profession may want to consider substitute teaching or becoming a paraprofessional, both of which are excellent opportunities to get a foot in the door for future employment with the SFUSD.

We continue supporting our teachers with one-on-one coaching, professional learning and capacity building to enable school teams to provide effective daily support for teachers. Regardless of how long they’ve been teaching, every teacher has the opportunity to participate in paid professional learning.

Simply put, we want educators who love what they teach and the children they are teaching. If that sounds like you, we’d love to hear from you. To learn more about these career pathways or apply for open positions, visit

Vincent Matthews is superintendent of the San Francisco Unified School District.

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