Meet Lloyd Hopkins of Million Dollar Teacher Project
I have worked in and around education for 18 years in different capacities. I worked with youth offenders, dropout prevention and after school recreation. But, the most impactful time on my journey was the 6 years I spent directly in the classroom as a teaching assistant in the Alhambra Elementary School District at Barcelona Middle School. This time was so impactful because 1.) it showed me I am not cut out to be a teacher and 2) it exposed me to the plight of teachers first hand. How they are underpaid, underappreciated and overworked. That experience transformed me into a self proclaimed Teacher Fan.
The role of the teacher is the most important in society and we must do more to preserve. I realized that in the work of improving schools there are alot of programs focused on kids. Alot of programs focused on technology. Alot of programs focused on extra curricular activities. But, not alot of programs focusing on strengthening the teaching profession. We can put millions of dollars into those other areas but, with out strong teachers nothing truly lives up to its potentional. Realizing this gap lead me to go back to school and get my degree in nonprofit leadership and management and launch Million Dollar Teacher Project October 2016.
No it has not been a smooth road. I started with zero dollars in the bank and no name recognition for my organization. It has also been very surprising the lack of interest people have in strengthening the teaching profession. It is alarming how many people neglect how crucial teachers are to a child’s education.
Our mission is to elevate the teaching profession through increased support, compensation and recognition. We partner with schools to create community-centered programming to increase how teachers are recognized, drive more support directly into classrooms and create innovative approaches to improve teacher compensation to bolster their teacher retention and recruitment efforts. We support students by supporting teachers.
We define success by our partner schools retaining more teachers each year than they lose. Our goal is to extend the life of a new teacher in the profession from 3 years to 5 years and we also measure success by student academic performance.