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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
  • Educator Licensure Investigation (enforcement)

Why Educator Talent

A focus on educator talent is critical because what we know is that classroom teaching and school leadership are the strongest school-based factors impacting student achievement. CDE is supporting the state’s 178 school districts 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 talent and grow 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 new evaluation requirements, the Colorado Department of Education (CDE) developed a model system as an option for districts to use for educator evaluations.

To support districts in implementing the new evaluation requirements, 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 how it provides support to the field. Based on quantitative and qualitative feedback, regional specialists are now out in the field to support districts and BOCES as they work to enhance their evaluation implementation practices.  This shift in support is 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 successfully embraced and implemented educator effectiveness processes focused on the growth of all educators. The Educator Effectiveness Office is excited to implement this enhanced model for support of districts as they move to refine and personalize their educator evaluation systems. This transition provides 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.

The Educator Effectiveness Regional Specialists are looking forward to supporting districts and BOCES's leadership to reflect on where they’ve been and where they want to go with their evaluation system.  As districts are kicking off the 2018-19 school year, members of the team will be available to meet and discuss specific needs. Some examples of ways the regional team supports the field are:

  • Continued development of quality evaluation systems
  • Enhancing the use of evaluation data
  • Refinement and development of evaluation components
  • Share efficient and effective best practice examples from across the state
  • Collaborate in your 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 written evaluation systems that are aligned with Senate Bill 10-191 and the State Board Rules for the Evaluation of Licensed Personnel. Beginning in July 2013, and by July 1 of each year thereafter, the Colorado Department of Education (CDE) is required to collect an assurance from each school district indicating that the district 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

The department 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 authority for CDE to monitor and review  districts’ educator evaluation systems, including  those using the State Model Evaluation System and those using locally-developed systems. In 2013, the legislature adopted HB 13-1257 which further codified the support and monitoring functions of the department, including the responsibility to respond to requests for review of local educator evaluation systems. The statute provides an avenue for interested parties who are affected by the evaluation system to submit requests to the department to review a district’s locally-developed educator evaluation system for adherence to the law.  The aim of this 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 program for content, rigor and completeness to ensure it addresses the requisite standards established by the Colorado State Board of Education, and to present these findings to the state board for its consideration to either authorize new programs or reauthorize existing programs (every five years). This work reaches into our colleges and universities as well as our alternative preparation designated agencies.

Educator Preparation Program Accountability

The Educator Talent Division, in conjunction with the Department of Higher Education, also oversees the 51 educator preparation entities in the state of Colorado. As part of this work, the unit is in the process of developing a comprehensive system of review and support for our educator preparation programs. The ultimate goal for all educator preparation program is to ensure high quality preparation pathways for all of our Colorado educators in order to support academic success for our 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 implementation of educator recruitment strategies for our educator preparation pathways.

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Educator Licensing

Evaluators and Customer Support Representatives

At present, CDE offers 31 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, we also issue 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.

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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2016-17 Educator Talent by the Numbers

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

Enforcement investigations:

  • initiated 2,795 new cases
  • closed 2,573 cases*
  • presented 68 individuals to the state board for action against either a license or an application

*The remaining 222 are still under investigation.


  • reviewed 37,505 applications
  • issued 33,627 licenses,* credentials and authorizations
  • maintained a 2- to 4-week evaluation-review time for a complete application

*A majority of the remaining 3,878 were disqualified for licensure for any number of reasons, including a lack of qualifications, a wrong application submitted or requisite documentation never provided. In a few cases, some of these applications are still pending due to Enforcement investigation.

Customer support representatives:

  • answered 34,408 phone calls from applicants and candidates
  • received and responded to 41,360 e-mail inquiries
  • assisted  1,289 walk-ins

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

  • 21 traditional (baccalaureate and post-baccalaureate)
  • 28 alternative (post-bacc only)

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

  • authorized 10 new programs
  • reauthorized 7 existing programs

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