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Foundation News

Seasoned education leader to manage foundation’s talent recruitment and retention grants

Program Officer will direct grants and programs that support educators in West Contra Costa public schools

RICHMOND, CA — A seasoned education leader will head the Chamberlin Education Foundation’s effort to support teacher recruitment and retention in West Contra Costa’s K-12 public schools.

Thomas Laymon joined the CEF team as Program Officer, Talent, in December. Laymon brings experience as a teacher, school leader, and talent recruiter to the newly-created role.

Laymon will manage a growing portfolio of grants and programs dedicated to strengthening educator recruitment and retention in West Contra Costa.

“When I look at both national and local trends, it’s clear that recruiting, retaining, and developing teachers must be a top priority,” Laymon said. 

“Keeping excellent teachers in West Contra Costa classrooms is among the most impactful factors that will lead to student achievement,” he said. 

The foundation established the new role to increase vital — and timely — support for teacher recruitment and retention efforts in West Contra Costa. 

Many local public schools have long struggled to recruit and retain top educator talent, and vacancies during and after the COVID-19 pandemic have worsened the shortage. 

West Contra Costa Unified School District reportedly started the 2022-23 school year with roughly 60 teacher vacancies after as many as 200 educators left their positions at the end of the prior school year.

"There are a lot of people out there who want to become teachers, many teachers and leaders who want more development, and numerous organizations that are well-positioned to support these goals."

With both immediate and long-term teacher and leader shortages threatening to impede student learning, CEF created a full-time position to coordinate educator recruitment, retention, and professional development grants and programmatic support across its four strategic focus areas

“Educator talent and retention is critical to our overall strategy,” said Dr. Stefanie Phillips, Chief Executive Officer at CEF. 

“Our teachers and site leaders ensure that students encounter rigorous grade-level content, and a supportive classroom environment that lets them build academic skill, individual resilience, and form connections with their classmates and the larger community,” Phillips said. 

“Their expertise and sensitivity to student need makes all the difference for the young people in their classrooms,” she said. 

The foundation’s talent grant portfolio will fund partners to help bolster educator capacity and encourage teachers to continue to build their expertise and strengthen their practice in West Contra Costa schools, according to Laymon. 

“Working in schools is the most rewarding profession,” Laymon said. 

“There are a lot of people out there who want to become teachers, many teachers and leaders who want more development, and numerous organizations that are well-positioned to support these goals,” he said. 

“Being in a position to connect and partner with these groups is exciting,” Laymon added, “because our students need expert educators to accomplish their academic goals and pursue valuable post-secondary opportunities.”

Laymon brings a diverse range of educator experience to the role. Before joining the CEF team, Laymon served as Director of Humanities and Ethnic Studies at Envision Education, where he set the vision and strategic direction for the humanities department, and orchestrated professional development for teachers across the network.

Previously, as an assistant principal at KIPP Public Schools in San Francisco, Laymon built capacity with teachers that led to some of the highest student achievement in the city, coached and developed teacher leaders and deans, and created a multi-tiered system of support (MTSS) program that provided targeted and timely support to the highest need students.

Prior to his Bay Area roles, Laymon served as Dean of Leadership at Jalen Rose Leadership Academy, and Dean of Students at Denby High School, both in Detroit, Michigan.

Laymon began his career as a social studies teacher in Detroit and Chicago. He also gained talent cultivation experience as a recruitment manager for Teach For America.

About the Chamberlin Education Foundation

The Chamberlin Education Foundation supports initiatives that advance education equity and academic excellence in West Contra Costa public schools. CEF’s grants and programs support effective education leadership, high-quality curriculum and instruction, restorative student interventions, and help create and sustain a student-centered public education ecosystem.

Click here for more about our team, our vision, and our foundation’s guiding principles.