Christian Community Education

Today, educational inequality exists along economic and racial lines. Too many children are condemned to substandard educational opportunities based solely on their zip code. As we work toward our mission, MTR employs a model of training that emphasizes the spiritual, social, and instructional needs of teachers that we call Christian Community Education (CCE).


Motivated by Faith

The Christian faith is both a belief and an ethic. It is a way to think and to live. God constantly calls his people to create and cultivate places that are fair in ways that represent more accurately the coming Kingdom of God. Our faith is a response to God’s love for us and compels us to seek justice, defend the oppressed, and to take up the cause of the fatherless. We believe providing for the common good through education, beginning with the most marginalized, is a valid response to the gospel and glorifies God, our Father.
(Isaiah 1:17; John 15:8; I John 4:19-21)

Image of God

We believe all people are created in the image of God and, therefore, possess equal value and rights. As a result, every child – regardless of race, class, religion, or neighborhood – deserves access to the highest quality of education. Moreover, as image-bearers of God, we believe that all people are born with immense potential and capacity to become inquisitive learners.
(Genesis 1:27-28; Psalm 8:3-8; Proverbs 22:2)


We understand that within a publicly funded education system a free and quality education is promised to all children, regardless of race, class, or religion. We provide quality teaching first and foremost by establishing a safe and healthy learning environment that is essential to student learning. Therefore, as teachers within a state-sponsored setting, we understand, believe in, and uphold keeping religious instruction out of the classroom as an essential ingredient to student learning in a public environment. We are to proclaim the gospel in word and deed, however these proclamations may be separated from one another and yet both still be purposeful.
(John 9)

Common Good

We see God’s end as the restoration and redemption of all creation, bringing order and justice to his kingdom under the Lordship of Jesus Christ. We believe the Christian’s role in life is to promote the goodness of the coming Kingdom of God into all aspects of life, including education. And it is a unique contribution of the Christian to serve not only what is good for all people, but to do so beginning with the most vulnerable and marginalized. We believe it is a valid response to the gospel to be the very best teacher we can possibly be for students in our city’s lowest performing schools.
(Proverbs 31:8-9; Matthew 25:37-40; Revelation 21:1-4)


We believe that we work for God, as well as for schools and students. As a result, we are motivated to teach with excellence and display the highest degree of character and professionalism. We are to be servants of our schools, administrators, students, and families, willingly moving into places of need in ways that display the grace and goodness of our God.
(Philippians 2:1-11; Colossians 3:23-24)

Spiritual Resources

We believe that our struggle is not simply against dysfunction and a lack of resources, but against demonic power. There are spiritual forces at work that seek to deny the image-bearing dignity of human beings. Therefore, it is essential that the Christian teacher rely on the resources and disciplines of faith to provide the power necessary to teach and live with effectiveness and joy.
(Galatians 5:22-24; Ephesians 6:10-13)

Note: While our method of training is communicated within a Christian worldview and context, residents are not required to adopt or accept a personal Christian statement of faith for participation within the Memphis Teacher Residency.


Instilling Hope

It is through relationships and in community that God has created people to thrive. We do not aspire to be individual silos of teaching excellence, but a single community—a movement of hundreds of teachers and leaders living, struggling, celebrating, and working together within our partner schools and neighborhoods.

Internal Community

MTR implements a variety of experiences in order to foster community and healthy relationships and promote a powerful esprit de corps. The first of which is to provide a sense and place of belonging for each resident.

  • Housing: All residents live together within the Concourse Parcels apartments.
  • Cohort: Participation within the Union University MUEd program is available only to members of each year’s MTR residency class.
  • Connection to MTR graduates: MTR offers residents introductions and connections to previous MTR graduates through many MTR-sponsored social events, intentional pairings, clustering within schools with graduates, intramurals, etc.
  • Connection to Memphis: MTR residents are also residents of a specific place—Memphis. MTR offers tours and speakers to introduce residents to the best of Memphis.

See our calendar for the specifics of our community events.

External Community

Our mission is summarized as Christian love expressed in equal education. As such, our goal is not simply to provide effective teachers to our city’s schools that employ approximately 7,000 teachers. For students to learn at high and equal levels, effective teachers must be provided to students in all years. Training high-potential teachers and focusing their placement in specific partner neighborhoods meaningfully advances the goal of ensuring that students in these neighborhoods have effective teachers in each year of their education.

The results of a 1996 research study found that students with comparable abilities and second grade achievement levels assigned to the most effective teachers for three consecutive years had a 5th grade math achievement advantage of more than 50 percentile points over their peers who were assigned to classroom teachers for three consecutive years that were the least effective. Quality and consecutive teaching has a dramatic and powerful positive effect on student achievement.

Our intention is to focus our teacher placement within specific MTR partner K-12 feeder-pattern schools that serve students within identified partner neighborhoods. This intentional focus will increase the access to high-potential, residency-trained teachers for children in MTR partner schools. Now in our 14th year, MTR currently has 319 residents, graduates, and alumni teaching and leading primarily within 34 feeder-pattern partner schools that serve five partner neighborhoods: Binghampton, Orange Mound, Frayser, Mitchell Heights/Douglass, and Graham Heights.

See our most recent school maps for data on our neighborhood teacher placements.


Creating Academic Achievement

We believe the residency model is the most intensive and effective means by which to prepare teachers. Our twelve-month training provides a Master of Education degree and a full-year internship as a co-teacher serving in an under-resourced community. Residents receive regular feedback from a mentor teacher and an MTR instructional coach.


Christian love expressed in equal education demands a critical mass of highly effective teachers for students in Memphis’ historically lowest performing schools. We believe the residency model is the most intensive and effective means by which to prepare teachers, and we value our membership in and collaboration with the National Center for Teacher Residency (NCTR) network. Our twelve-month training provides a Master of Education degree and a full-year internship as a co-teacher serving in an under-resourced community. Residents receive regular feedback from a mentor teacher and an MTR instructional coach.

MTR Camp

We understand that summer learning loss is a major contributor to the disparity in educational achievement between children growing up in poverty and their wealthier peers. Since 2013, MTR has operated MTR Camp to offer high-quality academic and arts enrichment summer day camps for students in several MTR partner elementary schools.

STEM Discovery Camp

We believe that mathematics, when rightly ordered, reflects the truth, beauty, and goodness of God because ‘all things hold together in Him’. Students who gain a deep understanding of mathematics are now empowered to make sense of mathematical concepts, wonder about the beauty and pattern of the world, and use the tools of mathematics to address the problems of society and bring order, justice and peace to the world.

With this in mind, starting in the summer of 2020, MTR is running a STEM camp that will encourage 7th grade students to discover the beauty of advanced mathematics and develop the skills needed for success in a STEM career.