High School Teachers

Forging new connections among educators to support first generation and lower-income students

The Pivotal Educator

Typically, attention in public education is focused on the struggling – schools, teachers, and students – hoping to ‘leave no child behind’. This leaves few resources for the most successful teachers in the system, thus constraining the scope of their impact. We name these highly successful educators as Pivotal Educators, and they are who we seek to elevate and support.

We all know about the Pivotal Educators in our own lives. At colleges and universities, we know about these Pivotal Educators from our students who talk with profound gratitude about their high school teachers and mentors who best prepared them for the intellectual excitement and rigor of college.

Pivotal Educators are serving high school students as mentors, confidants, quasi college counselors, as well as being exceptional teachers. That’s why we believe it’s time higher education began to serve them.


The Value of
The Pivotal Network for High School Teachers

  • To acknowledge and celebrate Pivotal Educators for the vital role they play in the lives of their students and of their students’ future university communities.

  • To integrate Pivotal Educators into disciplinary cohorts with one another and with university educators, elevating their professional identity and the development of pedagogical content knowledge that makes them disproportionately impactful.

  • To inform Pivotal Educators’ mentoring practices as they steer students through the college application process, augmenting demonstrably successful approaches with additional resources and to create adaptable, scalable, and shareable models for effective counseling.
  • To support Pivotal Educators as peer mentors in their home schools and to recruit additional pivotal educators in their schools, expanding sources of pedagogical content knowledge, reinforcing structural support systems through increased participation, and broadening capacity for sustainable institutional change.
  • To bolster Pivotal Educators’ efforts to connect recent college-enrolled graduates with current high school students — strengthening peer networks, deepening role model relationships within the college pipeline, and enriching academic disciplines with the intellectual contributions of students from historically underserved communities.

Meet the Pivotal Educators

2020-2021 Cohort

2021-2022 Cohort

The Other Nodes of the Network