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Press Release

Teachers Exiting K-12 Education Find Career Opportunities in Talent Development

Published Tue Oct 27 2020


(Alexandria, VA) October 27, 2020—K–12 teachers are leaving the profession at increasing rates due to burnout, financial challenges, and health and safety concerns resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, among other reasons. Where can teachers turn for career alternatives—and ones that will allow them to still utilize their education skills and expertise? Teachers to Trainers: Apply Your Passion and Skills to a New Career, edited by ATD senior content manager Lisa Spinelli (ATD Press, October 2020), provides a view of a different education system—one that focuses on adult learners and the corporate world of talent development (TD)—and introduces teachers to TD career opportunities that offer career growth and development.

In this comprehensive, practical, and first-of-its-kind resource, former K–12 teachers recount how they made their career switch, describe their current roles (instructional designer, e-learning professional, corporate trainer, coach, educational consultant, and talent development manager or director), and share resources and tips. These professionals describe why they sought a change, provide valuable insight about how they made the transition into their talent development roles, share what they wished they had known when making the switch, and examine the obstacles they overcame as well as rewards they achieved in their transformations.


“As part of ATD’s initiatives to help people discover and develop careers in talent development, Teachers to Trainers focuses on an important population whose skills and talents should not be lost because the K–12 environment did not work for them or because they wish to move on,” states Spinelli. “In working with many talent development professionals who started their careers in K–12 teaching, I discovered they had two major commonalities. First, they are exceptional TD professionals who have excelled in their TD roles due to their foundation in K–12 teaching. Second, they navigated the transition to TD without guidance or resources that could have made their journey easier. Few career development resources exist for teachers leaving the school system. As such, ATD began developing resources to fill this void.

“The most important element to take away from these former teachers’ experiences is that their passion for helping others and reshaping lives for the better still runs strong in their current roles,” Spinelli adds. “By moving into talent development roles, they still tap into that deeper sense of purpose and the skills acquired in K–12 education—they just don’t have to chase their students off the monkey bars.”

Each of the book’s chapters has sections on job market research, what teachers need to start a career transition, transferable skills, and final thoughts on what to consider when mulling this career change. Also included are a full range of resources—websites, links, research tools such as skills assessments and worksheets, reading recommendations, and a professional resume sample.

“If you are considering a shift from your K–12 teaching career but still love to educate and cultivate individuals, then you have picked up the right book,” says Spinelli. “You can keep your purpose and passion. You can be impactful and create a spark for learning, and still have the flexibility, compensation, and growth you crave in a career. Meet teachers who have done just that—transformed their careers from K–12 into the corporate world. All of them love their TD careers.”

About the Editor


Lisa Spinelli is the senior content manager for the career development, talent management, and finance communities, as well as the ATD Job Bank administrator and host of the The Accidental Trainer podcast at ATD. She is also the creator and manager of the ATD transitioning military service member workshops, Troops to Trainers, and editor of the ATD Press book Teachers to Trainers.

Prior to joining ATD, Lisa worked as a content strategist, editor, and journalist for more than 14 years. Some of her freelance work was previously published with Fast Company magazine, Huffington Post, Mental Floss, Northern Virginia Magazine, Houston Chronicle, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, and The Associated Press, to name a few. She grew up in Rome, Italy, and is an alumna of the University of Virginia and the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University. She currently resides in Northern Virginia with her three little divas and USAF veteran husband. Follow her on Twitter @atdcareerdev.

About ATD and ATD Press

The Association for Talent Development (ATD) is the world’s largest association dedicated to those who develop talent in organizations. ATD’s members come from more than 120 countries and work in public and private organizations in every industry sector. ATD Press publications are written by industry thought leaders and offer anyone who works with adult learners the best practices, academic theory, and guidance necessary to move the profession forward. For more information, visit td.org/books.

Teachers to Trainers: Apply Your Passion and Skills to a New Career


ISBN: 9781952157141 | 212 Pages | Paperback


To order books from ATD Press, call 800.628.2783.

To schedule an interview with Lisa Spinelli, please contact Kay Hechler, ATD Press senior marketing manager, at [email protected] or 703.683.8178.

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