About Memphis

Nearly 50 years after Dr. King gave his life here in the fight for equality, only 31 percent of Memphis kindergarteners are reading on grade level. The problem continues as only 39 percent of our Memphis third graders, and 38 percent of our Memphis seventh graders, are proficient in reading. By high school, only 6 percent of our students are graduating college ready. These statistics serve as reminders that our students need and deserve a systemic solution to improve the current state of education, and they need it now.

Today, though inequities persist, countless signs of progress give us hope. Through the collective work of our corps members, alumni, students, families, advocates, entrepreneurs, policymakers, and community members, we are impacting student outcomes and changing the narrative about what is possible. The collective sense of urgency in our community is visible at every level. Strategic efforts led by the Hyde Family Foundations and other local foundations have helped lay the groundwork for transforming Memphis into “Teacher Town, USA.” Our oldest district partner, Shelby County Schools, has been nationally recognized for the creation of its iZone schools and their progressive approach to improving student achievement while creating multiple pathways for all children to succeed.

We’re proud of the role our corps members have played in partnership with educators and advocates of all backgrounds since Teach For America joined the Memphis community in 2006.  We know that in order for our movement to be successful, it must be diverse in every way, and our incoming Memphis corps members are increasingly more diverse, with almost half of our 2017 teachers coming from a low-income background and almost half identifying as a person of color. The Tennessee State Report card consistently names TFA Memphis among the state's top teacher-preparation programs, and we are the only program to earn that distinction for the past seven years in a row.

Throughout their corps experience, our corps members grow as leaders and learn how to ensure their impact encompasses more than academic achievement. Our alumni continue to effect change at all levels. Today we count 440 local leaders among our program alumni: 240 teachers, 23 school leaders, 5 school system leaders, and more than 60 others in education, policy leadership roles, and social entrepreneurship. Our people go above and beyond to unlock the potential of historically marginalized students, empowering them for success well into the future.

With increasing momentum behind the movement to ensure educational equity for all, Memphis is full of promise. To continue pushing our city forward, our goal is to attract more exceptional individuals to join our corps, develop their leadership skills, and support them in their diverse efforts to expand opportunities for all students. The magnitude and complexity of the change we seek will require sustained leadership both inside and outside of the current education system.

As we consider the educational landscape in Memphis today, we are firm in our belief that this city must be the place that fulfills Dr. King’s dreams of a day when we are “an oasis of freedom and justice;” a place that refuses to question whether some kids can achieve and others can’t, but instead demands that all do at the highest of levels


Total Corps Size


Alumni In The Region


Year Partnership Established

Teaching in Memphis

Stories from TFA Memphis

One Day
By Paula Ann Solis
June 11, 2018
We asked educators: If money were no object and every permission slip was signed, where in the world (or beyond) would you take your students?
Students & Communities
By The TFA Editorial Team
March 7, 2018
Five after-school sports programs for underserved youth and the Teach For America alumni behind them.
One Day
By Faviola Leyva and Paula Ann Solis
February 14, 2018
A tale of love and scorekeeping.
One Day
By Ting Yu
June 5, 2017
So maybe you wouldn’t or couldn’t do what these parents did. But their choices expand the way we think about learning.
One Day
By Joel Serin-Christ
February 8, 2017
In every region, there were places you returned to often. These alums shared their favorites from the corps. What was yours?
One Day
By Susan Brenna
October 25, 2016
A four-part look at how educators are making every space safe for students, with close-ups on Orlando, New York, and an evolution within Teach For America.
One Day
By Leah Fabel
October 16, 2016
When diverse kids learn peacekeeping with academic rigor, will they save the world?
Education & Issues
June 29, 2016
TFA Memphis developed a partnership with the Memphis Business Academy to create a summer program where incoming teachers could train and 400 students could work on improving their skills before the school year.
Students & Communities
May 4, 2016
When six ambitious high school francophiles convinced their French teachers to take them out of the country, the Memphis community came together to make it happen.
Memphis Daily News
February 12, 2016
Students & Communities
By The TFA Editorial Team
February 11, 2016
Watch The Memphis Lift—an organization of relentlessly dedicated parents—not ask, not plead, but demand better schools for their children at Teach For America's 25th Anniversary Summit.
National Public Radio
October 31, 2015
Memphis Daily News
October 12, 2015
WMC Action News 5 (NBC Memphis)
September 30, 2015

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