Empowering Educators to Excel

A multi-state networked improvement community of school and district leaders working together to bring equity and opportunity to impact student achievement.

Empowering Educators to Excel (E3) Map - DE, IN, SC & TX

About the Project

One of 14 projects funded by the Teacher and School Leader Incentive Program (TSL) Grant from the U.S. Department of Education in 2017, Empowering Educators to Excel (E3) is an exciting partnership bringing much-needed support and growth opportunities for teachers and school leaders in 47 relatively small and/or rural schools in Delaware, Indiana, South Carolina, and Texas by creating a networked improvement community.

Participating districts include:

Scroll down to explore the project's components.

Video: An Overview of the Empowering Educators to Excel Project

Three Levers for Improvement & Educator Retention

E3 is implementing some of the most effective levers for educator effectiveness & retention.

Rigorous academic standards, as well as the levers and wrap-around supports within the "develop" column above, are the core of each partner districts efforts to improve teaching by leveraging current human capital. 

The levers include:

"The best thing about E3 from my experience is the professional development and the coaching aspect that we're getting across the board. Administrators are getting coaching. Teachers are getting coaching and then in turn that is impacting our student achievement."

Ashley Taylor
Principal, Marlboro County School District (SC)

Recruitment and Retention Systems - E3 grant

E3 is focused on supporting districts in building year-long, multi-stakeholder and equity-driven recruitment systems to attract effective teachers.

With the goal of increasing the number of applications of high-quality teaching candidates and ensuring all vacancies are filled by Day 1 of each school year, the E3 districts are putting in place the essential elements for building 21st century recruitment systems—with the leadership of cross-departmental working teams—including the use of the latest digital communication channels, video, and best practices for candidate screening and selection.

Highlight: Teacher Recruitment Videos
Each district has created a library of videos to attract candidates, including teachers sharing their experience, showcasing the location (since many candidates may not be familiar with them) and highlighting their bright spots.

Here's one video from each district.

"We're excited about how E3 is helping us transform the way we think about recruiting and retaining great educators."

Dr. Kandace Bethea
Superintendent, Marion County School District (SC)

National Education Leaders' Workshop (NELW)

National Education Leaders' Workshop 2020

Insight's annual National Education Leaders' Workshop is E3's annual gathering of district and school leaders that focuses on the most important levers for school improvement.

Join us on February 28-29, 2020 as hundreds of education leaders from 15+ states gather in Atlanta for #NELW2020 with the goal of working together to create bold change in their classrooms, schools, and districts.

Sign up for #NELW2020 >

The Educator Exchange - Teachers of Color Event - 2019

The Educator Exchange: HBCUs & E3

Partnering to Recruit More Teachers of Color

In January 2019 and again in November 2019, the Educator Exchange focused on convening strategic educators and administrators from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) with leaders from the E3 school districts.

Together, these two critical parties in the recruitment and retention of teachers of color, worked to establish district-university partnerships to begin addressing the shortage in this teacher demographic.

The Exchange, in conjunction with the historic venue–the International Civil Rights Center and Museum in Greensboro, NC, set the stage for honest and vulnerable discussions around being a teacher, particularly of color, in rural/suburban districts as well as the retention and support challenges faced.

"Through Insight's Empowering Educators to Excel project, I appreciate the aligned systems approach to making large-scale instructional change."

Dr. Pete Leida
Assistant Superintendent, Colonial School District (DE)

E3 Advisory Council

E3 Advisory Councils

To ensure strong implementation of E3, each district has an Advisory Council comprised of district-level leaders, principals, higher education partners, and teachers to serve as the governing body for TSL implementation.

In addition, we have a grant-wide Advisory Council that meets regularly with representatives from each district, including (pictured):

  • Stephanie Hofer, Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction, MSD of Decatur Township (IN)
  • Dr. Pete Leida, Assistant Superintendent, Colonial School District (DE)
  • Kakela Robinson, Chief Human Resources Officer, Marlboro County School District (SC)
  • Dr. DesMontes Stewart, Superintendent, Gainesville ISD (TX)
  • Deborah Wimberly, Special Projects & Public Relations, Marion County School District (SC)

Additional participants in E3 advisory council meetings (pictured):

Dr. Matthew J. Prusiecki, Superintendent, MSD of Decatur Township (IN);  Jill Nyhus, VP of Communications & Public Policy, Insight Education Group; Jason Stricker, Founder, Insight Education Group; Lisa Novotney, Project Coach, Insight Education Group; Kim Day, Project Coach, Insight Education Group; Dana Dudenhoeffer, Project Coach, Insight Education Group; Yozmin Draper, Project Coach, Insight Education Group; Jason Culbertson, CEO, Insight Education Group; Steve Cantrell, External Evaluator; and Austin Long, External Evaluator team.

"E3 has personally provided me a personal network of go-to people that are facing similar challenges that we are. It's helpful because it improves our whole entire community and this has created a sense of community of relationship building and collaboration with other colleagues."

Stephanie Hofer
Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction, MSD of Decatur Township

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The E3 Project Leadership Team




The E3 project (from L to R) is led by Dr. Andrea Thomas-Reynolds (E3 Project Director & Senior Vice President, Insight Education Group) and includes: Jason Culbertson (CEO, Insight Education Group); Dr. Michael Moody (E3 Principal Investigator & Founder, Insight Education Group); Jason Stricker (E3 Leadership Coaching & Training & Founder, Insight Education Group); Christina Ashford (E3 Grant Manager); and Steve Cantrell (E3 External Evaluator).

The E3 Project Coaches


One of the main supports of the E3 grant are project coaches who on-the-ground implementation support. They provide regular coaching for individuals and teams, professional development, and project management.

Bethany LeMoyne (E3 Project Coach Director; Director of Service Delivery, Insight Education Group); Kim Day (Marion County School District - SC);  Dana Dudenhoeffer (Gainsville ISD - TX); Kia Johnson (Colonial School District - DE);  and Regina Ureuta (Marlboro County School District - SC).

"Being a part of a networked improvement community allows us to not have to recreate the wheel but instead learn from the experiences of our other fellow leaders as well as the other districts in an effort to help us to improve and to remedy whatever situation we may be dealing with."

Dr. DesMontes Stewart
Superintendent, Gainesville ISD (TX)

Empowering Educators to Excel - E3 USDOE Grant

Telling the E3 Story through Articles

Cross-school collaboration seeks to empower small districts in 5 states [Education Dive]

Insight Education Group’s Empowering Educators to Excel (E3) initiative is working to connect five small school districts in five different states in a new networked improvement community to offer support for promoting school effectiveness.

How to retain great teachers: Start with leadership opportunities [eSchool News]

Dr. Peter Leida, an assistant superintendent for the E3 Colonial School District, shares his district’s multi-layer approach to developing and empowering teachers at the classroom, building, and district levels. 

How a Multi-State, Networked Improvement Community Empowers Educators to Excel [EdTech Digest]

In this panel discussion, E3 project director Jason Culbertson and three E3 district leaders share details and features of this new professional learning partnership designed to combat geographic isolation in smaller and rural schools.

Teachers turn to video for coaching [Smartbrief]

Dr. Kandace Bethea, superintendent of the E3 Marion County School District, a rural district in South Carolina, discusses how video coaching has given more flexibility and expanded her instruction coaches' support—allowing them to observe their mentee teachers after school, before the day begins, during their free period or whenever else it makes sense for them to fit it in. It gives them the time to better support their teachers, almost as if they’re able to be in two places at once.

Three ways small districts can go big on PD [eSchool News]

An instructional leader from the E3 district, MSD of Decatur Township, shares his district’s structured approach to improving teaching and learning, including using the levers from the E3 grant.

Teach to Lead Conference - Andrea Reynolds-Thomas and E3 district lead teachers

Telling the E3 Story through Conference Presentations


  • Insight’s Andrea Thomas-Reynolds conducted webinar sessions with the Charter Support Network to share best practices and lessons learned from this E3 initiative. The topics focused on the Three Key Levers for School Improvement (November 7, 2019) and Coaching for Change (January 16, 2020).
  • Insight’s Jason Culbertson and Colonial’s Assistant Superintendent Pete Leida presented on aspects of the E3 project at the Learning Forward conference on December 7-11, 2019 in St. Louis, MO.
  • Insight and the team from Colonial School District led three presentation sessions on best practices on recruitment and retention based on learning through the E3 grant at the American Association of Employment in Education (AAEE) conference on October 22-23, 2019 in Norfolk, VA.
  • Insight and Marion County’s Deborah Wimberly led a presentation on best practices for recruitment in rural districts learned through E3 grant at the National Rural Ed Conference on October 23-25, 2019 in Louisville, KY and at the South Carolina Association of School Administrators’s Innovative Ideas Institute conference on June 18, 2019 in Myrtle Beach, SC.
  • Insight led two sessions with the Charter Support Network on E3's best practices and examples for building year-long, multi-channel recruitment systems (August 29, 2019).
  • Insight's Jason Culbertson led a session at the 2019 Effective Educator Development (EED) Annual Grantee Summit (Arlington, VA) entitled "Poised to Transform: How Teacher Leaders Effectively Move Schools Forward" (August 2019).
  • Insight led a session at the 2019 Effective Educator Development (EED) Annual Grantee Summit (Arlington, VA) entitled, "Why Teacher Recruitment Needs to Change and the Pathways Forward."
  • Insight led a session at the TSL grantee's Youth Empowerment Services’ Summer Leadership Institute (Las Vegas, NV) entitled, "Effective Recruitment: How to Create a Year-Round, Multi-Channel Teacher Recruitment System" (June 2019).
  • Teacher leaders from each of the E3 districts attended the Teach to Lead Conference 2019. At the conference, they worked together to identify a problem of practice and created a theory of action around implementing equitable practices to impact student achievement. This work has been incorporated into each district’s strategic plan.
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Tell the E3 Story: Webinars

Stay Interviews: Keeping Your Best Teachers—Even in the Time of Remote Working [Webinar Recording]
In the April 2020 session of the E3 Recruitment & Retention Leadership Academy, we discussed the incredible value that "stay interviews" can provide principals in keeping their best educators. Over 40 leaders from E3 districts attended.

Recruit Like a Rockstar [Webinar Recording]
In May 2020, Insight partnered with E3 district Colonial School District and Nimble K12 to share best practices in virtual teacher recruitment. Over 200 educators from across the US registered for the event.

Interested in Replicating E3?

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