Determining staffing of a school can be a very intricate process with a goal of having all the pieces in place to form the best possible school community. A school staff is like a puzzle. Each member is part of the larger picture that is your school. We all have to function as a team, making contributions towards providing the best learning environment for our students.
In the book Good to Great, Jim Collins says “….to build a successful organization and team, you must get the right people on the bus.” His research shows that great companies and organizations do this. Not only do they get the right people on the bus, but they put them in the right seats.
Filling vacancies in your school community is like finding the right piece to complete your school’s puzzle. When a strong member of your school’s team makes a decision to move on, it can be difficult. As sad as it can be to lose a member of our PLC, it’s important that I convey happiness for them as they embark on a new opportunity. Despite severing ties with a staff member, I certainly hope to continue to learn from them!
The hiring/interview process is one aspect of my position that I enjoy. At a Todd Whitaker admin academy workshop I attended, we were asked to think about our ‘racehorses’, those teachers in our organizations who we wish we could clone. We then identified their characteristics and traits. This is a great exercise to help you identify what’s important to your school when interviewing candidates. Looking through the many applications for the few positions you have open can be time consuming and seem like a daunting task. Investing your time and energy to get the right people on the bus will ensure fewer headaches later. I always value the input of the teachers, as they are looking for a colleague who not only exudes characteristics of an exceptional educator, but someone who fits the team’s culture. When teachers are able to provide input in to who their colleague(s) will be, they are vested in the hiring process, feel a strong sense of connection to their new colleague, and a desire to do whatever it takes to establish a cohesive, collaborative team.
I always maintain the outlook that teachers don’t come to our school unless they’re really good at what they do. The reason they’re here, the reason they were hired, is because they’re at the top of their field, or I believe they have the potential to be at the top of the education field. At the start of a school year, I love to use Steve Jobs’ quote about Apple, but substitute the name of our school, instead:
I want each member of our staff, whether they are 25 year veterans or a first-year hire, to feel as though they are the perfect piece that completes our school puzzle. I want them all to collaborate & be kind to one another. I want them to remember that every parent wants their child to feel fully known, fully understood, and fully loved. And that we will do whatever it takes to find the uniqueness and light in each child.
I ordered a puzzle on Vistaprint of our school logo & gave each staff member the quote below, with one piece of the puzzle attached in the middle:
How do you let staff members know they are the perfect pieces to your school’s puzzle?