Gov. Youngkin Signs Executive Directive to Address Teacher Shortages; Launches “Bridging the Gap Initiative”

RICHMOND, VA – On Sept. 1st., Governor Glenn Youngkin announced new measures to address teacher shortages and recover learning loss. Joined by local superintendents, school board members, state legislators, students, teachers, and parents, Governor Youngkin signed Executive Directive Three: Addressing Teacher Shortages in Virginia Schools and launched the Bridging the Gap Initiative at Colonial Forge High School in Stafford County.

Governor Glenn Youngkin signs Executive Directive Three on Thursday, September 1, 2022 at the Colonial Forge High School. Official Photo by Christian Martinez, Office of Governor Glenn Youngkin.

By virtue of the authority vested in me as Governor, I hereby issue this Executive Directive to address the Commonwealth’s teacher shortages by removing obstacles that prevent qualified individuals from filling critical vacancies.

Importance of the Initiative:

Consistent with national trends, Virginia is seeing teacher shortages. There are few professionals who are more dedicated and hardworking than teachers. Educating Virginia’s children requires a strong teacher pipeline and workforce. Recruiting, growing, and retaining high-quality teachers is crucial to ensuring a best-in-class education for our students. One of my Administration’s top priorities is to ensure we provide a great teacher for every classroom in every school in Virginia.

The widening achievement gaps in the latest results from our Standards of Learning state
assessments demand action. Our children are still recovering from devastating learning loss and
other effects of school shutdowns. We must pursue a comprehensive approach to supporting
teacher recruitment and retention efforts.


Accordingly, pursuant to the authority vested in me as the Chief Executive Officer of the
Commonwealth, and pursuant to Article V of the Constitution of Virginia and the laws of the
Commonwealth, I hereby direct my administration to take the following actions to address the
current teacher shortage:

  1. The Superintendent of Public Instruction shall use all discretion within law to issue
    teaching and renewal licenses, including to teachers licensed in another state and retired
    teachers whose licenses may have lapsed.
  2. The Superintendent of Public Instruction shall coordinate with the Virginia Retirement
    System to ensure that all vacant K-12 teaching positions are classified to allow retired
    teachers to fill them.
  3. The Secretary of Education shall collaborate with the Superintendent of Public
    Instruction, the Secretary of Finance, the Secretary of Labor, and the Commissioner of
    the Department of Labor and Industry to develop additional legislative proposals to
    reduce red tape associated with teacher licensure, while ensuring high standards, in order
    to recruit more out of state teachers, retired teachers, career switchers, military veterans
    and other professionals with much to offer students.
  4. The Superintendent of Public Instruction shall target teacher recruitment and retention
    efforts to the communities and subject areas most in need by:
    (a) targeting discretionary grants for teacher recruitment and retention bonuses to
    school divisions with the highest and most persistent teacher vacancy rates;
    (b) coordinating teacher recruitment and retention dollars to maximize teacher
    (c) targeting recruitment incentives toward existing, previously filled positions, rather
    than those newly established through the federal government’s COVID-19 relief
    funds which expire in 2024;
  5. The Superintendent of Public Instruction and the Commissioner of the Department of
    Labor and Industry shall establish a registered teacher occupation apprenticeship program
    with school divisions and educator preparation providers to train and license new
    teachers, including paraprofessional educators.
  6. The Superintendent of Public Instruction shall issue a statewide model policy to establish
    childcare specialist apprenticeship opportunities for high school students.
  7. The Secretary of Education shall develop policies, including any potential legislation, to
    support childcare operating inside of schools to benefit both teachers and local families.
  8. The Superintendent of Public Instruction shall ensure that all teachers who are eligible are
    fully informed of their opportunity to apply for the Child Care Subsidy Program, a
    public-private parent choice program that serves as a national model for early childhood
    education and care, as well as other child care opportunities.
  9. The Superintendent of Public Instruction shall expand and improve the annual survey of
    school divisions to identify critical, unfilled teaching positions, emphasizing those needed
    to meet the Standards of Quality. The Superintendent of Public Instruction shall develop
    and annually administer a qualitative survey for all returning teachers to identify what is
    working, as well as all exiting teachers to identify the main causes of teachers
    transitioning jobs or leaving the profession.

Effective Date:
This Executive Directive shall be effective upon its signing and shall remain in force and effect unless amended or rescinded by further executive order or directive. Given under my hand and under the Seal of the Commonwealth of Virginia this 1st day of September 2022.

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