Skip to content

EdNC. Essential education news. Important stories. Your voice.

Advanced teaching roles: Extending the reach of excellent teachers (while keeping them in the classroom)

North Carolina is having a hard time recruiting and retaining great teachers. While pay, an unbalanced workload, and a lack of career opportunities and respect have all contributed to this issue, it’s become apparent that these barriers are all symptoms of a much larger issue: the way the teaching profession is fundamentally structured hasn’t kept up with other highly-skilled professions. That’s why BEST NC has supported the creation and expansion of the Advanced Teaching Roles Initiative.

Created in 2016, this program allows districts to develop organizational models that reimagine the structure of their schools, empowering educators to take on new teaching roles that provide advancement opportunities, creating a system of embedded professional development, and increasing the number of students served by excellent teachers.

Advanced Teaching Roles enable highly-effective teachers to advance their careers without leaving the classroom, extend their positive impact on student achievement, and increase their compensation.

The best part: when great teachers stay in the classroom, students win!

In effective models, developing teachers also benefit by having access to real-time professional development from master teachers, relieving some of the pressures of principals who are traditionally the primary source of instructional leadership in the school.

Today, 12 districts are taking part in the Advanced Roles Initiative.

Courtesy of Best NC

Key components of Advanced Teaching Roles include:

  • Enabling outstanding teachers across NC to extend their reach to more students without leaving the classroom,
  • Rewarding teacher leaders with up to $20k in higher compensation,
  • Providing developing teachers with embedded, personalized professional development,
  • Allowing principals to expand their leadership capabilities, and – most importantly –
  • Improving student outcomes.

Student success should be the ultimate goal of any educational initiative, and early results suggest that well-designed advanced teaching roles are having remarkable results on student performance. On average, growth scores in Advanced Roles schools markedly outpaced those in traditionally-modeled schools.

Courtesy of Best NC

This session, the General Assembly is considering an expansion of the program (HB571 and SB 670) so that more districts may have access to this important opportunity to reward teacher leadership and modernize the organizational structure of schools. It is important to note, the Advanced Teaching Roles Initiative is not a “one size fits all” approach. These roles can be personalized to any district and should be tailored to fit the needs of each school. Check out this short video to see how Edgecombe County has adopted advanced teaching roles.

It’s time to treat teachers like the highly-skilled professionals they are.

To learn more about districts that are offering unique career opportunities for teachers, visit BEST NC’s Advanced Teaching Roles site.


BEST NC (Business for Education Success and Transformation in NC) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan coalition of business leaders committed to improving North Carolina’s education system. We do this by convening a broad constituency; encouraging collaboration around a shared, bold vision for education; and advocating for policies, research, programs, and awareness that will significantly improve education in North Carolina.