With significant teacher shortages in a growing number of states, and declining enrollment in teacher education programs, the field of education faces complex challenges for which it must prepare a new generation of teachers. Scholars agree that along with more context-specific understanding of teacher recruitment and retention mechanisms, strengthening teacher learning experiences to support the development of effective and resilient teachers is imperative. In this presentation, I will first review findings from my line of research aimed at advancing the theory and measurement of effective teacher development as it relates to teacher skills, knowledge, and beliefs. I will then describe how findings from this first line of research has led me to initiate a new set of studies specifically targeting issues of educational equity in teacher recruitment and retention. I argue that because decision-making processes within teacher labor markets and the causes of racial and ethnic achievement gaps are both highly localized, more nuanced understanding of the contextual drivers – sociodemographic, historical, and political – of teacher recruitment and retention, and how it influences student academic outcomes, is important. This new program of study is using both primary and secondary data to provide deep and nuanced understanding of how and under what conditions a diverse teacher workforce can help reduce racial and ethnic inequalities in student academic outcomes. Collectively, these two lines of research are adding clarity to a person-in-context understanding of teacher development.