Seattle Teacher Residency Senior Director Named to National Fellowship for Educator-Preparation Leaders

Dr. Marisa Bier, Senior Director of the Seattle Teacher Residency (STR) at the Alliance for Education, was recently named an Impact Academy fellow through national non-profit organization Deans for Impact (DFI). Bier joins a cohort of leaders chosen for their commitment to improving educator preparation. 

Educator-preparation programs today face complex challenges as they recruit and prepare teachers who are equipped to engage all PK-12 students in rigorous, equitable, and affirming learning experiences. More than ever, the field needs leaders who can strengthen and diversify the educator workforce. DFI aims to fill this need through its Impact Academy fellowship, which has empowered more than 130 dean-level leaders to-date with skills, knowledge, and strategies to prioritize instructional quality and build more equitable systems of teaching and learning. 

Bier is one of 17 leaders announced as part of the fellowship’s ninth cohort. These fellows lead programs that serve 19 U.S. states and a broad diversity of geographic contexts from coast to coast. Forty-seven percent lead institutions that serve a majority of aspiring teachers of color, and 41 percent are leaders of color themselves. Six are Minority-Serving Institutions, including Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Predominantly Black Institutions, and a Hispanic-Serving Institution. Collectively, 48 percent of the aspiring teachers these institutions annually serve identify as people of color. 

“I am deeply honored to be named an Impact Academy fellow and to join a cohort of such inspiring leaders from across the nation,” said Dr. Marisa Bier, Senior Director of Seattle Teacher Residency and 2024 Impact Academy Fellow. “This fellowship provides a unique opportunity to collaborate with and learn from peers who are equally passionate about transforming educator preparation and the unique advantages of residency models. I am excited to bring back new insights and strategies to strengthen our STR program and support the next generation of teachers.” 

Fellows will participate in monthly learning sessions, receive one-on-one coaching from seasoned leaders, and engage in peer consultancies to address field-facing challenges in real-time. They will hone their ability to engage faculty, staff, communities, and PK-12 partners in a shared vision for transformative change, grounded in a deep scientific understanding about how students learn. 

“All students, and particularly students of color and students from underserved communities, deserve access to teachers who are well-prepared to engage them in rigorous and affirming learning experiences from day one,” says Valerie Sakimura, Executive Director of DFI. “We are thrilled to welcome a new cohort of leaders to Impact Academy who are committed to making that a reality, by doubling down on the essential role they play in making pathways into teaching more accessible, practice-based, and focused on evidence-based instruction.”  

“Marisa Bier’s selection as an Impact Academy fellow is a testament to her phenomenal work as a leader in educator preparation. Her innovative approach, effective strategy and long-standing commitment as the founding director of the Seattle Teacher Residency has transformed the learning experiences of students across Seattle for more than a decade,” says Lisa Chick, President at Alliance for Education. “We are incredibly proud of her achievements and are confident that her participation in this fellowship will further amplify her impact. Congratulations, Marisa, on this well-deserved honor.” 

To learn more about this year’s Impact Academy cohort, visit:  

About Seattle Teacher Residency 

The Seattle Teacher Residency (STR) is a program of the Alliance for Education and was developed in partnership with the University of Washington College of Education, Seattle Education Association, and Seattle Public Schools in order to recruit, diversify, prepare, and retain an excellent pipeline of teachers for students furthest from educational justice in SPS Title I elementary schools. The program trains educators to teach in culturally and linguistically diverse communities and supports them in securing teaching positions in SPS Title I schools. STR participants earn a Master in Teaching (MIT) degree from the University of Washington College of Education, and upon graduation, commit to teaching in a Seattle elementary or special education setting for five years. Residency graduates reflect the rich diversity of the SPS students they teach with more than 50% of STR graduates identifying as people of color. Learn more about the Seattle Teacher Residency by visiting   

About Alliance for Education 

The Alliance for Education is an independent, local education fund that has worked in partnership with Seattle Public Schools since 1995 to address crucial challenges facing Seattle students, families and educators. Our mission is to support excellence in education by advancing educational justice and racial equity for students in Seattle Public Schools. Our work is collaborative as we seek to address systemic inequities in public schools and create a more equitable and just education system that allows all Seattle students to thrive. Learn more about our work by visiting

About Deans for Impact (DFI) 

DFI is a national non-profit organization committed to ensuring that every child is taught by a well-prepared teacher. DFI supports educator-preparation programs to bring the science of learning into teaching practice; partners with policymakers to ensure pathways into teaching are accessible, practice-based, and focused on instruction; and equips leaders with the tools to address today’s most pressing challenges in educator preparation. Guided by principles of learning science, DFI aims to help aspiring and early-career teachers create rigorous and inclusive classrooms where all children thrive. For more information, visit