There are many important tasks an administrator faces throughout the course of the school year. Having a rigorous teacher selection process is critically important. We want to make certain we have teachers in the classroom that are going to be highly effective. The extremely high expectations of our selection process eliminate those unwilling to complete a large amount of work in a short amount of time. The process highlights those who have the spirit of competition; they are the people who drive one another.
The process currently embraced at John Sevier Elementary evolved out of disenchantment with your stereotypical interview process. First and foremost, the ability to make the decision at the school site is a critical element. We begin by posting the available position (with a detailed job description and expectations) through our system resources and then form our committee from a heterogeneous group of educators. The committee plays a vital role in providing viewpoints and feedback to the administration. As administrators, we always try to meet as many candidates as our schedule allows. This ties in with our overall school philosophy of building relationships through informal conversation.
The second phase of the process, based on those conversations, involves narrowing the field of candidates to less than 5 per position. Included in our specific criteria is a detailed timeline suggesting a one-hour time allotment for the complete interview process. The candidates are asked to develop a 30-minute power point presentation with specific criteria including data analysis of our school (they have full access to curricular information), school demographics, and teaching pedagogy among other areas. Also included in their requirements are a class newsletter and case study. The case study becomes one of the most important parts. It is an actual example of what could happen each day in a school setting. For example, you are two weeks into the new school year. Your class is blending well and a new student has been placed in your classroom. They explain their feelings and thought process about segueing the new class member into the existing setting.
The final piece of our interview process involves time for the candidate or committee member to ask any clarifying questions. Assistant Principal Ginny Boles and I view supporting the teachers the same way as we supported our students as classroom teachers. They each have different needs and are at varying levels of ability. Our role is one of support, encouragement, and education. This process has served us well when defining our best candidate that will fit all aspects of our John Sevier Elementary family.