Under the Umbrella, Volume 2, Issue 9

gabuie

Under the

Umbrella

HIRING THE

BEST & BRIGHTEST

Volume 2, Issue 9

April 2020


CONTENTS Volume 2, Issue 9

2 A New Normal, G.A. Buie

4-5 How Do You Hire the Best and Brightest

When We Are in the Middle of a

Pandemic?, Jerry Henn

6-7 How Do I Find the Best and Brightest?, Dr.

Justin Henry

8-9 KASCD Curriculum Leader Spotlight

10 Non-Traditional Hiring, Jamie Rumford

12-14 Uncovering the Mysteries of Hiring, Mark

Wilson

16-17 ¡Muévete! Get Out of the Way!, Blake

Vargas

18-20 Classified Staff—Hiring the Best &

Brightest, Bruce Kracl & Amy Droegemeier

22-24 A Blueprint for Expanding the Teacher

Interview Process, Dr. Ann Gaudino

26-27 Technology for the New Decade, Dr. John

Vandewalle

29 Conference Flyer

@USAKansas

Facebook.com/USAKansas

Ryan Jilka—President, KAMSA

Christie Meyer—President-Elect, KASCD

Sean Cochran—Past President, KASEA

Eric Sacco—Director, KAESP

Mike Berblinger—Director, KSSA

Cory Gibson—Director, KSSA

Eric Hansen—Director, KASBO

Justin Henry—Director, KSSA

Jake Potter—Director, KanSPRA

Volora Hanzlicek—Director, KASCD

Mike Argabright—Director, KSSA

P.J. Reilly—Director, KLCTE

Donna Schmidt—Director, KASSP

Glen Suppes—Director, KSSA

Patrick Schroeder—Director, KAESP

Deanna Scherer—Director, KASSP

Rena Duewel—Director, KASSP

Andy Koenigs—Director, KASPA

Amy Haussler—Director, KASEA

G.A. Buie—Executive Director

Jerry Henn—Assistant Executive Director


G.A. Buie, Executive Director, USA-Kansas

Everyone’s life this changing. Developing a new

normal is common place and future plans often

have more questions than answers. Unfortunately

this has become our new reality. As you sit in your

home office (also referred to by family members

as the kitchen, bedroom, or basement) or your

school office isolated by limited contact and no

visitors, somehow the Kansas State Board of

Education’s vision of “Kansas leads the world in

the success of each student” is quickly becoming a

reality in your new normal.

I’m going to focus on a few of the positives we are

seeing in Kansas. First, we have a governor willing

to make the difficult decisions, when others

around the country are delaying school two

weeks, followed by two more weeks and

eventually the year, Governor Kelly gave Kansas

schools and students a chance to refocus and

begin again. Secondly, let’s talk about the

leadership from Commissioner Watson and KSDE.

Every step of the way the department has been

there to answer questions, provide advice, and

bring people together to establish an alternative

direction.

We can’t forget the amazing work happening

across the state in your schools, the collaboration

between administrators, teachers, and even

parents has been remarkable. We’ve had the

opportunity to hear story after story about how

quickly information has been gathered, plans

developed, and people willing to support change.

As an organization, we have promoted that our

Kansas students are the most important resource

we have in our state. The work you are doing right

now continues to demonstrate how educators are

supporting this resource, daily.

During these times of uncertainty, it is important

for each of you to develop your own new normal.

Let me encourage you to develop a routine

outside your work day. Take a walk/run, ride a

bike, read a book for enjoyment, enjoy the

sunshine, or more importantly make some

homemade ice cream and enjoy a sunset with your

family. As a school leader, you are some of the

most important people in your communities. You

can’t help your students or families create a new

normal if you are not emotionally healthy. Take

care of yourself!

Thank you for the hard work! Keep pushing

forward and remember other states are watching

Kansas school leaders make this change happen!


HOW DO YOU HIRE THE

BEST AND BRIGHTEST WHEN

WE ARE IN THE

MIDDLE OF A

PANDEMIC?

Jerry Henn, Assistant Executive Director, USA-Kansas

These are extraordinary times. Everything changes

each day we get up in the morning. With the new

school year being planned, we must think about what

video interviewing might look like. What steps must

be taken to have a successful interview and be able

to hire the best person for the job.

The first thing to think about is your technology. Are

you set up to do video interviews? This is your IT

person’s job to make sure you are capable of

performing this task. If you interview with a team, do

they have the capabilities to complete the interview

via video? Do you expect your team to be together

or will they be at a different place and on video as

well? Much planning needs to happen before this

process even begins. Much more organization needs

to happen to make this a successful interview.

Second, does the candidate have proper technology

to handle a video interview? This is an important

question. If you want to hire the best and brightest,

can you hire someone that cannot participate in a

video interview? You can always supply the

candidate a means to video interview as well.

Do you still want the same expectations of your

candidate? Make sure the candidate is aware of

your expectations. How they dress, how they

speak, how they handle themselves when asked

questions, etc. are all still very important. Let them

know who will be in the interview. Your questions

will not change. If you ask for a lesson to be taught,

make sure they know that will happen. They will

need to be prepared to show you their teaching

style. If you require some type of written example,

use a shared platform that you can see their writing

while it happens.

Once the interview is completed, make sure they

understand when and how you will get back with

them. Notification is always important. Also,

remember, it might be good to invite them to the

school when you have less than 10 people in the


Building (currently). I would assume they will want a

tour of the room they will be teaching in. You could

do that tour virtually as well.

Your team must meet afterwards to get feelings of

the candidate and how they will fit in with the

faculty. Always remember, the candidate that is

recommended to the board is your candidate. The

team can have input, but realistically, you must be

the person to evaluate them. They need to be your

candidate.

The challenges to

video interviewing

really do not need

to be difficult.

Your main issue is

being prepared for

anything to

happen, especially

with an internet

connection. Good

luck and keep working hard to hire the best and

brightest.


HOW DO I FIND

THE BEST &

BRIGHTEST?

Dr. Justin Henry, Superintendent, Goddard USD 265

When politely asked by Professor Henn to write an

article this month, the assignment was to discuss the

approach and focus our district takes in attempting to

hire the “best and brightest” educators possible. Let’s

begin with a couple of questions.

1. When is the last time a parent called and

requested that their child be moved to a

classroom with a less effective teacher?

2. Do you spend more of your time working through

personnel issues with your superstar teachers or

staff members that maybe you should not have

hired?

The research on teacher quality and impacting

student achievement is clear. Great teachers improve

learning opportunities for all students and

unfortunately the opposite is also true. Stronge and

Hindman reinforce this point in their 2006 book, The

Teacher Quality Index. “Hiring, supporting, and

sustaining effective teachers is one of the most

important responsibilities of school leaders,

perhaps the most important responsibility. If we

believe that teaching and learning are the core of

schooling, then we also understand why good

teacher selection is absolutely indispensable to highachieving

schools.”

So, the question for Kansas school administrators is

not only what can we do to increase the number of

educators in Kansas, but how do we develop a

system that supports world-class educators in every

classroom?

Each Kansas district is unique and different from the

other 285 in the state. In our district, we try to

approach teacher recruitment in a manner like a

coach recruiting future players: identify the talent,

develop relationships, and then sign the best players

who match your culture. Our approach includes the

following steps:

• First, how do we find and connect with the

freshman and sophomore education majors from

our area colleges and universities?


• Next, how do we foster effective and ongoing

relationships with these future teachers? What

opportunities can we create while they are still in

college to get them in our district to work with

our students and teachers? This can be through

traditional opportunities such as student-teaching

and internships, but also can include hosting our

own teacher recruitment day or partnering with

future teachers to help in classrooms as possible.

• By the time they are seniors, hopefully, we have

had multiple years to get to know the candidates

and determine who might be the best fit for our

district. This allows us to offer contracts early in

the fall semester to fill anticipated openings for

the next year.

As the number of college students entering the

education field continues to decrease, it becomes the

responsibility of all leaders to look for new ways to

proactively promote and support this profession. The

graduating class of 2050 depends on your work

today!


Beth Sandness, Curriculum & Testing Director,

Prairie View USD 362

The true desire for everyone to look at

each child individually and help each child

reach the goals they have set for themselves.

teachers in your building have a

wealth of knowledge and most love

to share, it makes them feel valued.

Also, don't be afraid to step out and

suggest new things - everyone has

something to bring to the table.

We attend as many teacher interview days as we can,

as well as networking with the colleges of education

around the state. We also work hard to help mentor

our new teachers, which gets the word out that we

desire to help people grow in their desired

profession.

A true desire and love for kids, a desire to form

relationships with students, staff, parents and

community. Content and classroom management can

be learned and mentored, but loving your job and

connecting with students is something that must

come from within.

Continue to learn, don't close the door to new

opportunities. Ask for guidance, especially when you

start and have the difficult student- no teacher

started out knowing everything, and the veteran

I would tell myself that there will be tough days both

physically and emotionally, but those days are a small

percentage of the total, the good days make up for

the tough ones 3 to 1. The kids in your classes will

forever be your kids and you will remember them

always.


My superintendent is a firm believer in professional

development for all staff, so I make time in my

schedule to attend conferences, local meetings and

state meetings. If we aren't learning we can't be

moving forward.

I miss teaching at times- but I feel I am doing my

dream job in education. I get to help staff, students,

parents and community members better understand

our school system and how we want to help grow

their kids.

When someone answers a question with "because

we have always done it that way."

community member so it is important that they

understand the ins and outs. Also, we present data to

our Board of Education every time we do testing, so

they can also understand and share the results.

Through our professional development of Visible

Learning our staff has learned how to really break

down the success criteria that every child needs to be

successful and master a concept. This also requires

that they look at date consistently to make sure that

students are mastering those concepts. We then use

that data to help drive our future professional

development.

When I was teaching history I was able to take a

group of 24 junior high and high school students to

Washington D.C. and Gettysburg. Watching the

students walk where history was made and then 10

years later to have kids still talk about that trip- that

is what I love.

My position allows me to work with teachers across

the district from Pre-K through Seniors. I love being

able to help others, whether that be staff to find new

resources or students with post-secondary plans.

I tell people all the time that I am in the kid business

and every decision that we make has to be in the

best interest of the students. When you tackle every

topic and every day with that mindset, it reminds us

why we got into education in the first place and why

we do what we do. I also have to stay current with

the ever-changing world of education, especially post

-secondary so we can guide students with the best

possible information. Students are my livelihood and

we have to remember that on a daily basis. Even

though our colleagues are adults our customers are

students and their parents.

Want to be featured in KASCD’s Curriculum Leader

Spotlight? Email Tammy Martin at

tmartin3@usd259.net . Only current KASCD

members are eligible. Join KASCD at kascd.org.

I work with staff a lot to understand their data, they

are the ones that speak most often with parents and


Non-Traditional

Hiring

Jamie Rumford, Superintendent, Scott County USD 466

Recently one of our school board members raised the

question, “Does anybody take the traditional route to

the classroom anymore?” This question came on the

heels of hiring our second teacher for the upcoming

school year who will have to do some sort of

transition to teaching model.

It was a great question and led us to ponder the hires

we have made in the past five years who did not

come from the traditional college to student teaching

to hiring process. Our reality is that we have hired

just as many transitional teachers as we have

traditionally trained teachers during this time span.

Along with this reality is these transitional teachers

have been incredible for our kids. In most cases, they

chose another career direction after high school and

later felt the calling to teach.

Added to our traditional staff list we now have a

former nurse, construction site superintendent,

paralegal, chemist, property manager, military

instructor, X-Ray tech, recreation director, therapist,

and veterinarian, and each of them bring a

perspective we want our students to experience.

Isn’t this what we have identified as a key component

to our educational systems?

We have all heard about hiring people with

character, work ethic, and the ability to be coached.

Add to this list the ability to bring a perspective we

may not have considered before. Transitional

programs have been a reaction to a diminished work

force, but do not overlook the opportunities they

create within your district to influence your students

and their future.

The same thing is happening with our classified staff.

Most of our directors and business office staff had

alternate ambitions coming out of high school and

college, yet they see how their experience in other

careers can impact our school district in their related

areas.


WE PLAN FOR A REASON

We’re still in the early stages of understanding how the coronavirus outbreak will affect global health care and

economics for the rest of the year. However, when you look into the future, you can see events that you’ve

been anticipating for quite some time: children heading off to college, home upgrades, family vacations, elder

care for your parents, and, of course, your own retirement.

Here’s why guiding you and your family through these life transitions should still be the central focus of your

planning, even during a significant bout of market volatility.

The big picture is always brighter: Nobody could have predicted that a virus outbreak would disrupt global

business right in the middle of a contentious presidential election cycle. But market history did tell us that the

record-breaking bull market of 2009-2019 wasn’t going to last forever. What goes up eventually comes down.

The further you pull back when you’re looking at market returns, the smaller today’s volatility looks.

Continuing to work towards your life goals and events is a much more effective strategy than trying to predict

the next natural disaster, the next market downturn, or the next president.

You have options: We understand volatility can be worrying, especially if you’re nearing retirement or newly

retired. While major market volatility is never about just one thing, the coronavirus is making it hard for

companies around the world to buy raw materials from China and sell to Chinese customers. Stocks in the

energy, travel, technology, and consumer goods sectors have been hit especially hard.

What’s going to guide the decisions you make during this market correction, and the next one? How are you

going to decide which levers, if any, to pull, and which to leave alone?

Creating your Plan: We can’t plan for the next significant market shakeup. How can you achieve your financial

goals no matter what’s going on outside of your home? There’s no “one-size-fits-all” answer when folks

wonder what they should do during a moment like this. That is why planning is vitally important. Some folks

will make the most progress towards their goals by sticking to their current saving and investing strategies,

even as the markets are unsettled. Others might need to increase allocations to their cash reserves. And still

others might look for “buy low” opportunities that will pay off in the long run. In each case, it guided by a

customized strategy, not today’s headlines.

http://www.ameritimeks.com/

Securities offered through Securities America, Inc., member FINRA/SIPC. Advisory services offered through

Securities America Advisors, Inc. Ameritime, LLC and Securities America are separate entities.


Uncovering the

Mysteries of Hiring

Mark Wilson, The Principal Matters

One of the most important functions of the school

leader is the hiring process. It's also one of the most

anxious times for the leader, and with good reason.

When you're selecting someone to join your faculty,

you don't KNOW what kind of teacher they'll be for

you until they are actually a teacher for you.

Your selection of a candidate is a commitment, and

you don't always know as much about them as you'd

like to.

Here's a tip: Keep your focus on the essential

questions you're working to answer:

• seeing your candidate interact with students;

• observing your candidate take part in a

collaborative setting with teachers at your school.

If you can create circumstances to better see what

the candidate can really do, you're going to know

much more than if you merely hold an interview.

Everything you do in your hiring process should be

focused on answering those two questions. If that's

true, you really want to know about the candidate's

competencies as a teacher, and their dispositions as

an individual. What can they do, and how do they

relate to other people, particularly children?

SO your process, if conditions permit, should include:

• watching your candidate teach a lesson;

An interview minimally answers the questions you

want to know about your candidate. You may think

you have great intuition and can learn a lot about

someone during a 30-45 minute interview. Maybe

you're right. But wouldn't you rather watch a

candidate talk with students similar to those they'll

be working with? Wouldn't you like to see how they

would develop a brief lesson and connect the

learning with students?

It takes time to put together these experiences, but

not NEARLY as much time as it'll take you in the Fall if

you don't invest the time in the Spring to choose

wisely.


Asking teachers to participate in the process can

help you avoid blindspots, give you fresh

perspectives, and help build a sense of

community for the teacher who will be joining

you next fall.

Using a teacher committee is great; asking them

to rank candidates can be problematic. Consider

asking your teachers to ONLY give you these

things: what strengths they see in each

candidate; what weaknesses they see in each

candidate; and how well they can vision the

candidate teaching the students at your

school. (You may want to create a form for those

questions).

You don't. That's why you are better served by

checking references that aren't listed as well as

those who are. It's important to know people

beyond the borders of your school system, and

this is one of the times that comes into play. The

more people you know in education in your

general area and across the state, the more likely

you are to have someone who will give you the

real skinny.


how well this candidate will teach the students at

your school. You want to know how this candidate

will treat the children in her class. How well will this

candidate get along with other teachers and

collaborate in our faculty? These are questions that

you may better learn in other ways-- experiences as

part of the "interview" that will better tell you those

things.

If you spend an hour a month in your teachers'

classrooms every month all year long, they STILL are

in the class with the students (and on their own)

99.2% of the time. Do you feel good enough about

the candidate to leave them on their own with the

children of your school that much? We have some

tough situations, but if you know a candidate may

not be able to do the work, you'll need to have a

thorough plan and a lot of resources to make it work

in the fall.

While you are interviewing them, you can learn a lot

about someone by asking them what gets them

excited, what makes them stressed, what book

they're currently reading, and what day they'd like to

re-live if they were able.

Again, those questions STILL don't tell you what you

need to know, but you will get to know them better

by asking them.

The biggest questions that you have may be difficult

to get answered in the interview. You want to know


Blake Vargas, Superintendent, Caney Valley USD 436

A great district is only as strong as the people working in it. Budget and resources are only

valuable if you have capable teachers to apply them. There are three key factors I have applied

over the years to build a fantastic group of educators here at USD 436 Caney Valley; Retention,

Recruitment, and finding employees with Reliability. Then often the hardest part, getting out of

their way to let their abilities shine.


Hiring begins with retention of those that are willing

to do whatever it takes for their students. As a

leader, it is important to set the tone; put incentives

in place, create a culture that is rewarding, push your

staff to grow, and lead by example in order to retain

your best and brightest so hiring becomes easier.

Establishing a culture of doing what is always best for

the kids will reduce the number of departures, and

contributes to an overall positive working

environment. However, for those that are unable to

keep pace with the staff around them that truly

impact kid’s lives, simply put, it may be time to move

along. Unfortunately, for some, the desire to do what

is best for students has faded, and I always respect

those that will move out of the way, versus hanging

on in a situation that is not beneficial for anyone. The

key fact is that staff know those who have lost their

passion for kids, and it is amazing the great things it

will do for culture when they vacate. But at all costs,

hang on to those that are doing the very best for

students.

There is always a point in the spring that the modus

operandi changes, and all is fair during hiring season.

Every district is looking to secure the best there is in a

potential vacancy. Oftentimes that means attending

college career fairs, but I have found one of the best

ways to strengthen your organization is to attract and

bring in seasoned educators from other districts. If

you have done your job with culture, this is not

something you will have to work too hard on. Word

gets out quickly, and I have found that educators will

often be excited to join a thriving district with a

strong passion for its students. This can be difficult if

you are in an area with many great surrounding

districts, but can still be accomplished with the right

angle. For some it is a supplemental, others a certain

class that the educator is passionate about, or even

professional development opportunities they would

have access to. Plant the seed early! Build

relationships with people in your community that you

see potential in. I have slowly recruited over years to

assemble a strong team of passionate and dedicated

faculty and staff.

When I am reviewing potential candidates, I am

looking for the candidate with tenacity; the individual

who has had to, in a sense, fight a little to get where

they are. In my experience, this is the employee that

tends to be most reliable. I’m not looking for “flash,”

or the perfect student. I’m looking for an employee

that, if called upon, will come through when you

need it most. This has never been more beneficial

given the impact of the current Covid-19 situation.

My Bullpup Family never hesitated once to do what

was best for the students in our community.

The formula really is rather simple; hire the very best,

and get out of their way! I tell my staff when I hire

them that I just want to be the individual that

eliminates barriers to educate our kids to the very

best ability we have. They are the experts in their

respective area, and I challenge them to push their

students outside of their comfort zone. Because, in

the end, I will be doing the same with them. So

Muévete!


Bruce Kracl, Director of Operations &

Amy Droegemeier, Director of Nutrition Services,

Gardner Edgerton USD 231

“Hiring the Best and the Brightest” may conjure up a

notion of a long line of seasoned, experienced, and

anxious job candidates applying for an available

nutrition service, custodial housekeeping, grounds, or

maintenance job opening; or conversely a long line of

young, energetic, and recently trained job

candidates. Unfortunately, the prospect of a long

line of “best and brightest” candidates applying for

available classified openings in the school district is

usually not practical or realistic.

School district administrators and supervisors are

more and more challenged with identifying talented

applicants that may require job specific training after

their hire to meet the needs of the job opening.

Many of the candidates that apply for jobs such as

custodial, grounds, or maintenance positions may not

have years of experience in housekeeping or a

specific construction trade. Competition from a good

construction or production economy means there is

an abundance of construction and production related

jobs that typically offer higher wages to the most

experienced candidates. Consequently, for school

districts, the ability to select candidates with great

work ethic and a willingness to learn becomes

increasingly important. If you can cross train a

candidate from another vocation (such as

commercial cleaning, retail, food industry, delivery

service, or warehousing jobs), you may just find an

applicant that will be a great employee for a number

of years.

Hiring food service employees can also be challenging

due to limited hours and, surprising to some, the

physical stamina required of these positions. These

factors, coupled with the fact that most positions are


not year-round, can make it difficult to fill food

service positions, especially when the economy is

booming. The best strategy to fill many of these food

service positions is to hire employees who already

have children in the school district and want to

ensure that their family’s day-to-day needs are met.

By providing a partial-day schedule, many parents

take these positions to ensure that they are there to

see their children off to school, greet them at the end

of the day, and take care of them on days out of

school. These employees are also typically the most

loyal as they are invested in the success of the

district. We often say that even though the job is not

glamorous and the pay will not make you a

millionaire, the intangible benefits such as excellent

work/life balance are invaluable.

It is important to also understand that you may be

hiring for the short term, as opposed to a long time

career. Retirees and (to a much lesser degree)

college students may both represent a competent

and willing candidate pool for these jobs. As

economic conditions change, it is natural for

employees to seek better financial opportunities. It is

also not unusual for former employees to want to

return to a school district position when the economy

slows, or they grow tired of their better opportunity.

Be open to good former employees that may wish to

return to work for the school district.

Here are some suggestions for seeking and selecting

classified staff in the present job market.

Advertising and solicitation. Posting an available job

on the district web site may not yield the volume or

quality of candidates needed to competently fill a

position. Utilize available commercial job listings,

local newspapers, public and social media to list jobs.

Post job openings in the school newspapers, at the

local grocery, at church, the local YMCA, trade

schools, colleges and universities. Consider

establishing a job fair for the district specifically

suited to all classified positions (not necessarily just

nutrition service, custodial, grounds, or

maintenance). Understand that more than half of

the applications you receive are probably not going

to be a reasonable or ready-made fit for your

position.

Encourage your current employees to recruit, recruit,

recruit. Oftentimes word of mouth solicitations for

available positions create a practical interest and

expectation for a job and a job candidate.

Establish a broad range of criteria for screening and

candidate selection. While experience in a similar

position should always be a primary consideration,

evaluate experience in other vocations that require

similar skills or job functions.

Interview with purposeful questions. Try to develop

questions that challenge a candidate to show a

general knowledge and expand on the specific

aptitude you require. Strive to ask questions that you

can use to assess a candidate’s flexibility and ability

to learn new skills. Focus on a candidate’s potential

to adapt to your job description, if they don’t have an

abundance of prior experience in that vocation.

Utilize your existing staff in the interview process to

ask questions, and provide valuable input in making a

selection.

Get multiple references and get as much information

as possible. In an age where other employers HR

departments may not be willing to offer much in the

way of applicant information, it is important to work

with a highly thought of candidate to obtain a

number of references; especially references willing to

offer meaningful information about the applicant.


Sell a school district’s opportunity to provide steady

employment over the course of a number of years.

Provide information regarding employee benefits,

and advancement opportunities that may exist.

Candidates that have worked seasonal or

construction related jobs often times tire of riding the

construction economy with long demanding hours

during the high times, and short hours during the off

season or poor construction times.

with available training from other sources; such as

vendors that you already use. Most vendors

(especially in the custodial field) offer a multitude of

training opportunities. Be open to having the new

employee review and select training that they have

interest in. Share training opportunities with the

candidates during the interview and selection

process; so that they understand training is available,

and also expected.

Establish a plan for training inexperienced, or undertrained

new hires. Utilize the talents of your existing

employees to offer hands-on instruction and training

for the new employee. Supplement in-house training

Good luck as you market and solicit for your open

positions, screen applicants, interview, and make

your selections for the “best and the brightest”.


A Blueprint for

Expanding the

Teacher Interview

Process

Dr. Ann Gaudino, Assistant Professor of Educational Leadership, Millersville University, Millersville, PA

*Originally featured in the Feb-April Perspective Magazine provided by the American Association of

School Personnel Administrators (AASPA)

Recognizing and responding to the long-term

importance of the interview process are essential to

hiring the best teachers. When we hire teachers, we

are binding our district by contract with that teacher

potentially for 30 or more years; the working life of

that teacher. We must approach hiring keeping this

long range in mind; how many students will be

influenced by this teacher over the course of his or

her working lifetime? And how time consuming and

expensive would it be to remediate his or her faults

or move towards dismissal?

As a human resource director and assistant

superintendent, I often wondered why districts hire

teachers after a short interview process; sometimes

after meeting the applicant for one or two hours. Do

we really believe that we know someone well enough

so quickly to offer them a contract; potentially

binding our district with the person for their working

lifetime?

I thought about these ‘whys’ many times, looked at

many years of research on aspects of personnel, and

decided to take the steps necessary to change our

hiring process for teachers. It took time to get

everyone on board with the idea and process, but

long-term it was vital to ensuring that we hired and

retained the best teachers. Working collaboratively,

stakeholders can reform our teacher hiring process;

making it more in-depth, with a longer


in-person interview, and involving more people to get

a variety of perspectives on the applicant.

A comprehensive teacher hiring process begins with

the principal and central office administrator (HR

director, assistant superintendent, etc.). Working

together, they conduct a comprehensive paper

review and have much discussion and comparison of

scoring rubrics to narrow the pool. Keeping this initial

screening process at the administrative level helps to

ensure that the potential pool of applicants going

forward meets the required and preferred

qualifications of the school and district.

Next, an interview team consisting of the principal,

assistant principal, central office administrator and

lead teachers is assembled. These team members

must be employees who are committed to hiring the

best for the school and not burdened with other

agenda. They must be vetted through a careful

process of consideration. Working together, they will

conduct i n-depth phone/online individual interviews;

again with much comparison and discussion of

scoring rubrics and thoughts about why or why not

each candidate was the ‘right’ fit. An additional step

that can be added at this point is to conduct a group

interview with applicants to get a sense of how

applicants interact with colleagues. While best done

in person to get a ‘read’ on all aspects of the

applicants’ professional behaviors, distant applicants

could participate via an online technology platform

(Zoom, etc.). After these interviews, the team works

to carefully narrow the pool to the top three to five

top candidates to campus for a full-day interview

process.

Establishing a full-day interview process that involves

many groups of constituents interacting with the

candidate is time consuming and labor intensive; but,

in the end, I noticed that the quality of the teachers

who we hired increased measurably. There were no

more ‘mis-hires’; never hiring someone who turned

out to not be what we had hoped for. Student test

scores improved, as did parent and community

satisfaction, and building and district morale.

Moreover, candidates invited to campus commented

that they got to know the school well and could

determine if our school was a good fit for them,

should they be offered the position. Giving the gift of

a full-day of time to each candidate who was invited

to campus and carefully vetting the applicants

through the eyes of many constituents over an

extensive full-day interview was instrumental in

hiring and retaining the best teachers.

The full-day interview begins before the school day

started with coffee/light breakfast with the teacher

applicant, principal, interview committee and a

central office administrator. This informal time

together is optimal for observing applicant

interpersonal skills.

Next, the principal and central office administrator

interview the candidate and then walk the school

with the candidate to give him or her the tour. It’s

amazing how much information can be noticed and

conversation. Having two sets of administrator eyes

is valuable in noticing and noting key points

of the applicant’s performance and interactions. By

the end of the tour, the principal and central office

administrators have both spent several hours,

nonstop with the candidate—it’s so enlightening to

observe and interact with the candidate for this long

time and in a variety of circumstances and locations.

The rest of the day is spent with the candidate


interviewing with various groups: faculty, service

personnel (secretaries, custodians, etc.), parents and

students because each brings a valuable perspective.

In advance, the principal works with a how to select

group members, guiding them with formulating their

questions, deciding which student or parent would

pose which question and how the group will evaluate

the applicant. During the day, the principal meets

with each interview group after the interview to

debrief and learn the findings of the group about the

candidate. The candidate spends lunch with the

teacher and administrator interview committee.

There is a teaching demonstration with a group of

students and teachers and administrators observing

to gauge the quality of teaching done by the

applicant. The day concludes with the candidate

interviewing and debriefing with the principal again;

and it also serves as a chance for the candidate to ask

As an administrator, I felt simultaneously invigorated

and exhausted by this long, and sometimes grueling,

process. But, in the end, I felt that I truly knew the

applicants and could make the best recommendation

for our students. Feedback from candidates indicated

that they, too, felt they got to know our school well

and have a sense if working there would be the right

fit for them, if offered the position.

It is difficult to find time in K-12 education. We are

pulled in so many directions all at once. The upfront

investment of time and effort in the interviewing

process yields a long term investment of hiring the

best and ‘right’ teachers. It is less financially and time

costly than having to remediate or terminate an

employee. Hiring the best employees ultimately

translates to helping our students; our number one

goal.


TECHNOLOGY FOR THE NEXT

DECADE

Dr. John Vandewalle, CEO Lumen Touch, johnv@lumentouch.com

There is no turning back, so how do we deliver top quality education and effectively

provide student and data security, streamline workflow for overworked teachers

and administrators, while fostering community support with strong security and

fiscal responsibility?

So, what keeps the CEO of Lumen Touch and his team awake at night?

“The last thing I ever want to hear is that one of our school partners has had a tragedy of some kind with one

of their students, families or staff members. It breaks our hearts whenever we hear of the various tragedies,

schools have to deal with every day. The next thing that I loathe to hear is that students or their schools have

been compromised through their technology or data that has been violated in some way!”

Maintain the updates and configurations of all services, following industry best

practices. Isolation of risk and standardization are core principals you should use when

determining the design and configurations of your services, and rather than react to

existing threats, work under the assumption that all networks are potentially hostile,

including other servers in the local network and clients across the web. With this assumption in mind, you

should explicitly ban the use of defaulted trust between services. All systems should have access rules and

firewalls enforced.

Consider migrating to a fluid system of interoperability that allows for sharing of data across platforms and

vendors while creating technological engines for automated data integration. This allows you to meet the

standards of EdFi, IMS Global, CoSN and other organizations that create these standards. You should be able to

distribute data across platforms in a just-in-time manner that provides instant communication and dashboards

to all the stakeholders from Board members to students and their families on the technology of their choice.


Redesign should be dedicated to helping schools and districts transform how they deliver education, support

teachers, and manage their schools using edtech that is not only comprehensive but

extremely secure. There should be an ongoing search for opportunities to have state-ofthe-art

technology to address the stresses on students, teachers and the staff. This may

require moving away from the comfort of extant systems that have kept us comfortable

for years. Today, we should look at technology with the bottom line metric of Return on

Education (ROE). This will address fiscal responsibility and ultimately save your district

time and money. Also beware of the brave new app. that just walked in from the latest

conference that is tacked on to your menu of technologies without passing the muster of a good approval and

implementation process. This may add to the swiss cheese opportunity for system violation.

In general, schools that implement these ROE strategies experience an average savings of 30% to 60%, which is

realized from diminishing redundant expenditures, time savings for educators and administrators and

insurance protection through fluid interoperability and cyber-security.

SafeDefend.com


May 27-29, 2020

Hyatt Regency • Century II Convention Center

Wichita, KS

CLICK HERE FOR MORE

INFORMATION


KAESP—Kansas Association of Elementary School Principals

KAMSA—Kansas Association of Middle School Administrators

KASBO—Kansas Association of School Business Officials

KASPA—Kansas Association of School Personnel Administrators

KASCD—Kansas Association of Supervision and Curriculum Development

KASEA—Kansas Association of Special Education Administrators

KASSP—Kansas Association of Secondary School Principals

KLCTE—Kansas Leaders of Career and Technical Education

KanSPRA—Kansas School Public Relations Association

KSSA—Kansas School Superintendents Association

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