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 TK-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 Graduate School of Education traces its roots to 2010, when our small founding team launched a pilot program to train new teachers within Aspire Public Schools. A unique approach to recruiting, cultivating, growing, and retaining exceptional educators with and for public TK-12 school systems grew from the seed of understanding that nothing makes a bigger difference in a child’s learning experience at school than their teacher.

From the start, our model has derived its power from a commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, social justice, and community-based partnerships. While most teacher-prep programs operate separately from TK-12 schools and their communities, ours is embedded. We share tuition funds; recruit and select teacher candidates from within local communities; and pair teachers-in-training with expert mentors in an immersive, yearlong classroom residency in the school systems where the teacher candidates will become classroom teachers the following year.

Our purpose has always been to do three things: attract diverse teacher candidates who reflect their students’ communities and cultures, support their development to be highly effective in the classroom, and set them up through a rigorous academic program that is focused on developing a pedagogical approach which is culturally responsive and asset-based, inclusive and developmentally appropriate, rich in content area and reflective practice. After a successful pilot, Alder became a stand-alone 501(c)(3) organization. And in 2020, Alder became an independent, fully WASC- and CTC-accredited graduate school of education.

Today, Alder serves public TK-12 school districts, county offices of education, regional special-education service areas, and public charter schools. The majority of our new teachers identify as people of color and first-generation college graduates; consistently earn the highest ratings from their principals; and remain in the profession in the communities where they trained significantly longer than their peers.

Everyone benefits through these partnerships. Children get excellent teachers in whom they see themselves. Longtime educators pass down knowledge to aspiring teachers, equipping them for the noble path of teaching. Schools receive a pipeline of talented, committed teachers. Communities see growing workforce opportunities and educated, engaged citizens.

Like Alder trees bringing nitrogen to the soil, which in turn creates better growing conditions for surrounding plants and trees, our greatest hope is that Alder GSE and our graduates contribute to a more nurtured and just world.

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.