UCSC New Teacher Center director receives national education award

Ellen Moir, executive director of the New Teacher Center at the University of California, Santa Cruz, received the 2005 Harold W. McGraw, Jr. Prize in Education today (Tuesday, September 27) for her pioneering work in new teacher professional development.

Also receiving the McGraw Prize this year were Barbara Taylor Bowman, cofounder of the Erikson Institute, and Sharon Lynn Kagan, Marx Professor of Early Childhood and Family Policy and associate dean for policy at Teachers College. Recipients, selected by a board of judges from a selection of nominees, receive a $25,000 award and a commemorative statuette. Past honorees include former First Lady Barbara Bush, former Governor James B. Hunt, Jr., and former U.S. Secretaries of Education Richard Riley and Rod Paige.

Moir was recognized for her leadership in the field of teacher induction and her development of a mentoring program that pairs novice teachers with veteran classroom instructors. Moir's mentoring model dramatically improves the retention rate of new teachers. Nationally, the dropout rate among new teachers is 50 percent after five years, compared to retention rates as high as 88 percent among participants in the New Teacher Center's mentoring programs.

"Support early in their career makes all the difference for new teachers, and we know that teacher quality is the single most important factor in student success," said Moir, a passionate advocate for equitable learning opportunities for all students.

Moir is the founding director of the New Teacher Center, which has become a national resource for new teacher training since opening its doors in 1998. The center focuses on improving student performance by increasing teacher retention and effectiveness. Moir has also served 17 years as director of the Santa Cruz New Teacher Project, a beginning teacher induction program that has supported more than 10,000 beginning teachers during the first two years of their careers. From 1995 to 2000, she was the director of teacher education at UC Santa Cruz. Moir frequently addresses educators and policymakers on topics related to new teacher development. In 2003, she received the California Council on Teacher Education Distinguished Teacher Educator Award.