Extending Teacher Talent: A Mixed-Methods Study of the Paraprofessional Pool in New York City
Luis Rodriguez

About the research


NAEd/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship

Award Year



New York University

Primary Discipline

Educational Policy
The challenge of constructing and maintaining a diverse and high-quality pool of teaching candidates is a significant concern for education policymakers and practitioners. Prior research indicates that many school districts struggle to find qualified candidates for vacant teacher positions, particularly in schools that predominantly serve students from low-income families, students of color, or those who do not speak English as their first language. Moreover, the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated these shortages in recent years. Such trends place critical importance on investing in policies and programs to cultivate what many education policymakers and practitioners consider to be a plausible candidate pool for future teachers, prompting persistent calls advocating for the preparation of paraprofessionals as future full-time classroom teachers. The goal of the current project is to shed additional light on paraprofessional demographics and career trajectories and their ambitions to enter the teaching profession, specifically within the New York City context. Using an explanatory sequential mixed methods study designed, the study will provide a descriptive portrait of the paraprofessional pool and identify the organizational conditions that support and impede paraprofessionals from transitioning into full-time teaching roles. The ultimate objective of the project is to inform the work of education policymakers, practitioners, and researchers who seek to improve teacher preparation pipelines and support the professional advancement of paraprofessionals into the teaching profession.
About Luis Rodriguez
Luis A. Rodriguez is Assistant Professor of Education Leadership and Policy Studies in the Department of Administration, Leadership, and Technology at NYU. Dr. Rodriguez?s research applies interdisciplinary perspectives to examine how school organizational conditions, education reform, and broader socio-political factors affect the P-12 education workforce and its ability to generate positive outcomes for students. He is particularly interested in the identification of policies, programs, and practices capable of sustaining an equitable distribution of diverse and highly qualified teachers for students from traditionally disadvantaged backgrounds. In his ongoing research projects, Dr. Rodriguez investigates factors affecting the recruitment and retention of teachers of color as well as the influence of tenure, evaluation, and other human capital management reforms on teacher turnover and performance. Dr. Rodriguez is currently a Research Affiliate with the Research Alliance for New York City Schools (RANYCS), the Institute for Human Development and Social Change (IHDSC), and the NYU Metropolitan Center for Research on Equity and the Transformation of Schools. He received his doctorate in K-12 Education Leadership and Policy Studies with a specialization in Quantitative Methods from Vanderbilt University, and holds a bachelor?s in Economics from Swarthmore College.

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