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Educator Talent - About Us

Educator Talent: Effective Educators for Every Student and Effective Leaders for Every School.  Circular icon with Attract represented as a Megaphone, Prepare represented with a Stack of Books, Support represented with Gears Turning and Retain represented with a Shooting Star.

Educator Talent  - About Us 

Educator talent management is a system built upon the preparation, recruitment, hiring, induction, mentoring, professional growth, compensation, work environment, and performance support of all educators. Together, these are the building blocks of an educator talent management system that helps to attract, retain, and develop the best educators possible.   -American Institute for Research

The Colorado Department of Education Educator Talent Division addresses the full continuum of talent management and human capital development, including:

  • Educator and leadership preparation pathways and certification (licensing)
  • Educator effectiveness, development, coaching, and support
  • Induction and mentoring
  • Professional learning
  • Educator recruitment, retention, and career development
  • Early childhood workforce development
  • Educator licensure investigation (enforcement)
  • Research related to educator workforce development and impact

Why Educator Talent?

A focus on educator talent is critical, especially considering that classroom teaching and school leadership are the strongest school-based factors impacting student achievement. CDE supports the state’s 178 school districts and 21 boards of cooperative education services (BOCES) to attract, prepare, support, and develop great educators because every child in every classroom deserves to have excellent teachers and excellent building leaders who are supported in their ongoing professional growth.

It is about our educators

Educators play a crucial role in the life of every child. Research confirms that teachers are the single most important school-based influence on how well students learn. “Educator quality is the single most important school-level contributor to student learning and achievement” (Leithwood, Louis, Anderson, & Wahlstrom, 2004; Rivkin, Hanushek, & Kain, 2005). Teachers and leaders are the face of education for its most important consumers – children and their families. Education can learn from the workforce development approaches of public and private industry where they focus on growing talent in a strategic and intentional way by recruiting, developing, supporting, and retaining our educator workforce.

As such, the mission of the Colorado Department of Education’s Educator Talent Division is to develop, deploy and support talent management and human capital development strategies for districts and schools so that the most effective educators are in every school and classroom and all students are prepared for college, career, and life.

Educator Effectiveness

Senate Bill 10-191 was passed with the idea that every child in every community deserves excellent classroom teachers and building leaders who are supported in their professional growth. To support school districts in implementing the evaluation requirements, the Colorado Department of Education (CDE) developed a model system as an option for districts to use for educator evaluations.

CDE worked with a variety of stakeholders to design, develop and pilot the Colorado State Model Evaluation System. The rules and regulations promulgated by the State Board of Education allow districts to choose to use the Colorado State Model Evaluation System OR create their own system as long as the system created adheres to state statute and rules.

The basic purposes of the statewide system to evaluate the effectiveness of licensed personnel are:

  • To ensure that all licensed personnel are evaluated using multiple, fair, transparent, timely, rigorous, and valid methods, fifty percent of which is determined by the academic growth of their students;
  • To ensure that all licensed personnel receive adequate feedback and professional development support to provide them a meaningful opportunity to improve their effectiveness; and
  • To ensure that all licensed personnel is provided the means to share effective practices with other educators throughout the state.

Implementation Support

Colorado State Model Performance Management System (COPMS)

The Colorado State Model Performance Management System is an optional and free tool to support districts in the implementation, data collection and effective use of the Colorado State Model Evaluation System. The Colorado State Model Performance Management System was made available for use beginning in the 2014-2015 school year. The system includes an electronic interface and data collection tools for the state model evaluation rubrics, measures of student learning/outcomes, final effectiveness ratings, and aggregate reports to support principals and district leaders in providing useful and actionable feedback and possible professional development opportunities for educators. 

Approved Evaluator Training Providers

As required in state law, all performance evaluations must be conducted by an individual who has completed a training in evaluation skills that has been approved by the Colorado Department of Education (CDE). As such, any person who conducts an evaluation of school licensed personnel must hold a principal or administrator license or complete a state approved evaluation training program. The purpose of Approved Evaluator Training Providers is to allow districts using the State Model Evaluation System the opportunity to use evaluator designees when evaluating teachers, principals or specialized service professionals. Evaluator designees do not hold a principal or administrator's license and must therefore be certified by an Approved Evaluator Training Provider in order to conduct evaluations. 

Educator Effectiveness Regional Support

Effective in the 2017-18 school year, the Educator Effectiveness Office shifted supports to the field. Based on quantitative and qualitative feedback, regional specialists provide out-in-the-field to support districts and BOCES to enhance their evaluation implementation practices.  This shift in support was an effort to honor continuous improvement both in the evaluation system and technical assistance provided by CDE.  The regional specialist model will aid districts and BOCES as they continue their journey in supporting educator practice and building an integrated, systematic approach to evaluation

Colorado districts and BOCES have embraced this enhanced model as they continue to hone and personalize their educator evaluation systems.  This transition provided an opportunity for districts to engage with Educator Effectiveness regional specialists to create or refine an evaluation system that honors their local values. These regional specialists are invested in forming a unique partnership with districts and BOCES across the state and provide supports in varying areas of evaluation, including:

  • Thinking differently about evaluation system practices and identify allowable flexibilities and areas for differentiation within state statute and rule
  • Ongoing development of high-quality evaluation systems, including refinement of evaluation components
  • Enhancing the use of evaluation data
  • Sharing efficient and effective best practice examples from across the state
  • Collaborating in their efforts to support educator development and student growth



The assurances for written evaluation systems are intended to ensure that school districts and BOCES across Colorado implement evaluation systems aligned with state law, Senate Bill 10-191, and the State Board Rules for the Evaluation of Licensed Personnel (1 CCR 201-87). Beginning in July 2013, and by July 1 of each year thereafter, CDE is required to collect an assurance from each school district and BOCES indicating that the district/BOCES is either implementing the State Model Evaluation System, its own distinctive evaluation system, or a combination/hybrid of the state model and another distinctive evaluation system. Each year a summary of what is submitted is compiled into a report and made available on the assurances webpage.

Evaluation System Support and Review

CDE is required to conduct ongoing monitoring of districts’ adherence to the requirements of educator evaluation systems as outlined in law and rules. Section 6.04 (D) of the Rules for the Administration of a Statewide System to Evaluate the Effectiveness of Licensed Personnel Employed by School Districts and BOCES (1 CCR 301-87) provides CDE authority to monitor and review the educator evaluation systems of districts and BOCES, whether the State Model Evaluation System or locally-developed systems are used. In 2013, the legislature adopted HB 13-1257 which further codified the support and monitoring functions of CDE, including the responsibility to respond to requests for review of local educator evaluation systems. The intention of this review process is to be responsive to valid concerns that may be raised by interested parties and to support districts in improving the quality of their educator evaluation systems. This process is fundamentally about providing districts the support needed to implement quality educator evaluation systems.

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Educator Preparation

Educator Preparation Program Authorization

CDE reviews each educator preparation program for content, rigor and completeness to ensure it addresses the requisite standards established by the Colorado State Board of Education, and presents these findings to the state board for its consideration to either authorize new programs or reauthorize existing programs (every five years). This work pertains to Colorado colleges and universities as well as the state's designated agencies for alternative educator preparation.

Educator Preparation Program Accountability

The Educator Talent Division, in conjunction with the Department of Higher Education, also oversees the fifty-three educator preparation entities in the state of Colorado. In conjunction with the Colorado Department of Higher Education (CDHE), the Educator Preparation Office oversees the universities and colleges that have traditional preparation programs.  As part of this work, this office and CDHE are in the process of developing a comprehensive system of review and support for educator preparation programs. The ultimate goal for all educator preparation programs is to ensure high-quality preparation pathways for all Colorado educators in order to support academic success for students. The work in this area is supported by Colorado legislation under Colorado Revised Statute 22-2-112.

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Educator Development

The Educator Development Unit serves to support educators in their preservice preparation, early career induction and mentoring as well as their career-long professional development. This team works with districts to ensure high quality educator development experiences including induction, mentoring, support and networking.

Educator Development also oversees the implementation of new educator endorsements and educator recruitment strategies for educator preparation pathways, including the administration of relevant grant programs.

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Educator Licensing

Evaluators and Customer Support Representatives

At present, CDE offers 21 various applications for educator authorizations, credentials or licensure. Four primary license types – teachers, principals, administrators and special services providers – are issued with one or more of 60-plus endorsements, pending license type and applicant qualifications. In addition, CDE offers 12 types of authorizations, including 34 different Career and Technical Education (CTE) credentials.

Work is ongoing to strategically revise and combine application types to reduce the number and streamline the process for candidates; the 21 applications indicated above is a decrease from 31 applications previously.  

Starting in 2017-18, our evaluators and customer service team transitioned into becoming education pathway consultants to provide coaching and consulting for potential and current educators. This work will support the recruitment of educators in the state of Colorado by helping to bring new teachers into the education profession, thus helping to address Colorado’s’ educator content and geographical shortage needs. 


CDE’s Enforcement Office reviews all applications in which an applicant responds positively to one or more self-disclosure questions. They also review arrest records received from the Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the FBI pertaining to applicants and license-holders. After reviewing the circumstances surrounding the incident(s) and considering supporting legal documentation, Enforcement either clears the license-holder or applicant, allowing the application to move forward for evaluation, or presents the case to the Colorado State Board of Education for the revocation, rescinding, suspension or denial of the license or authorization.

How quickly applications are cleared largely depends on how quickly applicants and law enforcement agencies respond to requests for information. One full-time staff member’s time is dedicated to working with CBI to verify fingerprints and associated background reports. 

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2018-19 Educator Talent by the Numbers

The following are some data points for the educator development, licensing and enforcement team.

Enforcement investigations:

  • initiated 1,763 new cases
  • closed 1,640 cases*
  • presented 67 cases to the state board for action against either a license or an application


  • reviewed 40,206 applications
  • issued 35,474 licenses, credentials and authorizations*
  • maintained a 2- to 4-week evaluation-review time for a complete application (with a 2-week yearly average)

*A majority of the remaining 5,000 were disqualified for licensure for any number of reasons, including a lack of qualifications or requisite documentation, enforcement disqualification or an incorrect application being submitted.  A few of these applications remain pending due to ongoing enforcement investigation.

Customer support representatives:

  • answered 25,642 phone calls from applicants and candidates
  • received and responded to 14,398 e-mail inquiries
  • assisted 1,236 walk-ins

53 preparation programs were offered through colleges, universities and designated agencies across Colorado:

  • 22 traditional (baccalaureate and post-baccalaureate)
  • 31 alternative (post-baccalaureate only)

45 content area and program reviews for educator preparation were presented to the state board, which:

  • authorized 34 new endorsement programs at existing preparation programs
  • authorized 1 new alternative licensure program (disignated agency)
  • reauthorized 10 existing programs
  • approved the sunset of 4 educator preparation programs

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