TeachNY emerged in spring 2014 through the leadership of then SUNY Chancellor, Nancy L. Zimpher. The multi-phase effort was initially supported by a New York State Education Department (NYSED) grant funded through Race to the Top.

In Phase I, the TeachNY Advisory Council was convened. This group included a wide array of state and national education leaders who worked together to begin to identify challenges and best practices for educator preparation. On May 18, 2016, the TeachNY Advisory Council Report of Findings and Recommendations was released, in which five priority areas were identified: recruitment, selection, and cultural competence; curricular design, pre-service education, simultaneous renewal, and related partnerships; induction, continuing professional development, and teacher leadership; evaluation and assessment; and, sustainable infrastructure.

Upon the release of the Advisory Council Report, Phase I concluded and Phase II commenced with a focus on the development of the SUNY TeachNY Policy and a companion statewide campaign for educator preparation.

The statewide campaign began in May 2016 with the first in a series of regional meetings that brought together educators to discuss ideas from the Advisory Council Report within the context of local challenges and possibilities. This campaign also included the formation of the TeachNY Roundtable, which was led by Chancellor Zimpher and NYSED Commissioner MaryEllen Elia and comprised of representatives from key stakeholder groups who could chart a course forward for educator preparation policy statewide.

Upon adoption of the SUNY TeachNY Policy, Phase III began with the adoption of the SUNY TeachNY Policy, which shifted the focus across SUNY from policy development to policy implementation. Reaching beyond SUNY, the TeachNY Roundtable that had formed during Phase II served as the springboard for the New York State Teacher Table first convened in April 2018 with the intent to develop an action plan focused on teacher recruitment and retention.