Program History and Statistics


In the spring of 2000, the NYC Teaching Fellows program was launched to address the most severe teacher shortage in New York’s public school system in decades. The Fellowship endeavors to attract mid-career professionals, recent college graduates, and even retirees to teach in the hardest-to-staff schools in the nation’s largest school system. 


In its first year, NYCTF drew 2,100 applications for 325 available positions. Among that first group of Fellows were a Viacom vice-president, one of Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s speechwriters, a “Dateline NBC” producer, and a technology executive from Chicago with both a JD and an MBA. The quality of the applicant pool was so exceptional that the program has been expanded to 2,000 Fellows a year. 


Since 2000, the Teaching Fellows program has not only addressed New York’s chronic teacher shortage, it has been able to focus on recruiting people specifically to teach high-need subject areassuch as science, math, Spanish, special education, and bilingual educationand consistently places large numbers of teachers in the hardest-to-staff schools across the city.


Today, the NYC Teaching Fellows program is the largest alternative certification program in the country and among the most selective. 


  • Over 8,000 Fellows are currently teaching in New York City’s public schools. 
  • Eighty-nine percent of Fellows begin a second year of teaching.
  • This school year (2006-2007), one in ten of the approximately 78,000 teachers in the New York City public school system is a Teaching Fellow.  
  • Only twenty percent of applicants to the June 2006 program were admitted.

In the seventh year of the program, the Fellowship is already beginning to see its Fellows transition into leadership positions: 

  • 36 Principals, assistant principals, and principal trainees
  • 66 other teacher leadership roles such as mentors and coaches

The success of the NYC Teaching Fellows program has been heralded across the country through features in national media outlets such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Time Magazine, Education Week, CNN, “World News Tonight” on ABC, “Good Morning America,” and PBS’s “The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer.” In his July 2003 report to Congress, Meeting the Highly Qualified Teachers Challenge: The Secretary's Second Annual Report on Teacher Quality, former Education Secretary Rod Paige specifically cited the NYC Teaching Fellows program as one of the most promising models for alternative certification nationwide. Now in its eighth year, the NYC Teaching Fellows program continues to exceed all expectations.