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CTEP:Opportunity Culture Texas in the Media

Harlandale ISD: Highly Paid, Accountable Teacher-Leader Roles

San Antonio-area district joins the Opportunity Culture Texas and implements teacher leadership roles in 2016.

Contact: Sharon Kebschull Barrett,; 919.929.4544


Harlandale Joins Texas Districts Creating Highly Paid, Accountable Teacher-Leader Roles 

CHAPEL HILL, N.C.—The Harlandale Independent School District, in south-central San Antonio, Texas, has joined the national Opportunity Culture initiative to extend the reach of excellent teachers and their teams to more students, for more pay, within recurring budgets. The Texas Education Agency (TEA) made Texas the first state to support multiple districts in creating an Opportunity Culture; the initiative now includes districts in six states. 

Harlandale ISD has about 15,000 students, 97 percent of whom are Hispanic, and more than 1,000 teachers. The district ranks near the bottom among Texas school districts for property wealth, and 100 percent of its students are eligible for free lunch. Harlandale includes two traditional high schools, an early college high school and an alternative high school, four middle schools, and 13 elementary schools. 

In an Opportunity Culture, a team of teachers and administrators at each school chooses among models that use job redesign and age-appropriate technology to reach more students with personalized, high-standards instruction—one hallmark of great teachers. School teams redesign schedules to provide additional school-day time for teacher planning and collaboration, often with teacher-leaders leading teams and providing frequent, on-the-job development.

The school design teams reallocate school budgets to fund pay supplements permanently, in contrast to temporarily grant-funded programs. Schools in nine district sites in six states nationwide are designing or implementing Opportunity Culture models. Pay supplements are as high as 50 percent, and an average of about 20 percent, of base salaries. 

Terrell Wells Middle School will implement its Opportunity Culture plans in the 2016–17 school year. The school’s design team has been through the design phase of its Opportunity Culture planning and will implement  Multi-Classroom Leadership, which calls for excellent teachers to continue to teach while leading a team. These “MCLs” coach, co-teach, co-plan and collaborate with their team teachers, while taking accountability for the learning outcomes of all the students the team serves. In Harlandale, an MCL can earn an annual stipend of $10,000.

“I am excited about the impact our MCL will have on a larger body of students,” said Jacob Garcia, who led the school’s design team as its principal. “The simple philosophy of extending a master teacher’s reach beyond their classroom walls will develop teachers and grow students academically.”  

Public Impact, which designed the Opportunity Culture model prototypes, and Education First, which has extensive experience facilitating collaborative change in district schools, are assisting the state’s 20 Education Service Centers (ESCs) and the TEA in supporting its Opportunity Culture districts. This work is part of the TEA’s Creating Turnaround Educator Pipelines (CTEP) project. CTEP is focused on identifying and supporting turnaround efforts across the state. For more information on CTEP and the Opportunity Culture work in Texas, contact Robyn Fender at; 210.370.5499.


About Public Impact 

Public Impact is a national organization whose mission is to dramatically improve learning outcomes for all children in the U.S., with a special focus on students who are not served well. We are a team of professionals from many backgrounds, including former teachers. We are researchers, thought leaders, tool-builders, and on-the-ground consultants who work with leading education reformers.

Learn more about an Opportunity Culture on the  website, which provides toolsall free—to build an Opportunity Culture, videos of teachers and principals, and related resources. Funding for development of resources to help schools design and implement Opportunity Culture models and support teachers taking on new roles has been provided by national foundations.

Educators who have worked in Opportunity Culture schools are publishing a series of columns about their work on

For more information, please visit To arrange an interview with Public Impact, contact Sharon Kebschull Barrett at; 919.929.4544

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