About Alder
Graduate School of Education

We believe quality public education is the cornerstone of a healthy democracy. Our immersive theory + practice residency program is designed to make that a reality through our partnerships with accredited institutions of higher education and our relationships with K–12 school partners.
Alder graduates are effective educators and a force for positive social change.


The Alder Model
what we do
why it matters
Recruit from the local community to expand and diversify the teaching population.
Boosts the overall population of teachers and creates teaching teams that reflect the demographics of their students.
Provide students with an immersive, year-long residency program under an expert mentor educator.
Apprenticing with an expert educator is the first step to becoming one.
Integrate a rigorous curriculum of theory + research-based coursework.
New teachers are prepared to be judicious consumers of educational trends as they change over time.
& theory
Train educators at the school in which they will work.
A year-long membership in a particular school environment transforms a new educator’s ability to shine from day one.
Provide priority hiring.
New educators get a job for which they are especially trained; schools get a year-long interview and a pipeline of teachers trained by their best.
Ensure a living stipend for residents.
This offsets tuition and expands the teaching pathway for people who may not have considered it before.

Our Vision

Outstanding teachers and leaders change students’ lives
and make the world better and more just.

Our Mission

To create opportunity and cultivate success for every student by recruiting and educating excellent teachers and leaders who reflect our schools’ communities.

Our Name

The Alder myth tells of trees that stand on the front lines with courage, strength, and leadership–always and only in service to what is right and just–protecting and caring for all that is noble.

We chose Alder as our name because we believe these qualities are embodied by excellent teachers and because they are emblematic of our organizational values and inspire us to uphold them.

Our Logo

Our logo represents the Fibonacci sequence (1, 1, 2, 3, 5, etc.). The sequence appears throughout the natural world and is a powerful example of infinite growth and impact.

The Fibonacci sequence symbolizes the impact of a single teacher on the lives of his or her many students, who will then grow up to impact the lives of countless others.

We see this as an important reminder of the value of doing our work well and of our deep commitment to preparing educators who embody excellence as they travel the noble path of teaching.

Our Origin Story

Alder began in 2010 as a pilot program to train excellent teachers for Aspire Public Schools.

We saw in the impassioned hearts of our brand-new teachers the seeds for the kind of educators we were looking for. How could new teachers be best supported to grow into the kind of life-changing educators they had the potential to become?

We thought about the very best teachers we already had and asked ourselves how we could leverage their expertise. We wondered if the time-tested merits of an apprenticeship model would be an effective path. We designed our program around something new: a carefully matched resident-mentor pair who would work together throughout an immersive one-year residency in the classroom.

We gave ourselves five years. We would continue beyond that if three things had become true: the demographics for our residents reflected those in our schools, our graduates were significantly more effective in the classroom, and teachers remained in the classroom longer than national averages would predict.

The data was clear by year three: the model was working. Bolstered by the support of the leaders at Aspire, a wonderful collaboration with the University of the Pacific, and the invaluable guidance of some of the leading minds in American education, we set course to become an independent graduate school of education in order to offer our model to a wider audience.

In 2015, we became Aspire University, and in 2017 we were renamed Alder Graduate School of Education. Today, we are honored to be preparing inspired, inspiring people to embody the vision we had years ago: excellent teachers who change children’s lives.

Our Core Values

  • Hope. We believe in what is not yet realized. We bring hope to all we do.
  • Compassion. We bring our hearts and our empathy. We listen and work to understand first.
  • Courage. We speak up and lead with an unwavering will to do the right thing.
  • Knowledge. We seek to learn from the lived experiences of all of our community members and from theories and research.
  • Collaboration. We work together across ideas, individuals, and communities to develop and work toward shared goals.
  • Excellence. We strive relentlessly to achieve our vision.