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teacher quality

My District Has a New Way of Hiring Teachers and Guess What, It's Working

Many factors are responsible for student academic success including meaningful instruction and engaged learning, parental involvement and professional development for teachers. Along with such factors, the recruiting and employment of high-quality teachers is a critical component supporting student academic success. As superintendent of Rocky River City School District, my team and I recently implemented a new process to screen and interview the hiring of new teachers. While many interview processes are available, our research-based approach to interviews has resulted in the employment of many high-quality teachers.

How Our District Hires New Teachers

Selecting a candidate to fill a teaching position is an important decision with long-term implications for students and the district such as increased continuity in grade-level teaming, relationship building between students and staff as well as increased staff stability. District leaders need to identify and implement an approach to the interview process that is fair, consistent and results in the selection of high-quality teachers. In order to do this, the process used to select teaching candidates should be based in research. Our team decided to study multiple interview models and ultimately, we based our final decisions and selections on proven research, our ability to implement the process with fidelity, and the results that were yielded as defined in the research. At the conclusion of our study, two research-based approaches were selected: Gallup’s TeacherInsight Assessment and Haberman Foundation’s Star Teacher Selection Interview. The Haberman Star Teacher Selection and Gallup TeacherInsight enables interview teams to identify desired trends, themes and consistency within candidate responses. This data coupled with collaborative instinctual district level experience in hiring allows high-quality candidates to be propelled to final round interviews.

We Involve the Whole Team

When a teaching position opening is discovered, the personnel director meets with grade or subject level teams and/or building staff members in a focus group setting to seek input regarding the skills and characteristics needed in a future staff member. Staff comments and themes are subsequently shared with administrators who will conduct interviews for the position. Instructional strengths and experiences for a department and on a team within the organization are of paramount importance, making the data collection from the interview process and input of staff members that much more critical. A complete application packet includes the potential candidate completing a research-based online interview tool, the Gallup TeacherInsight Assessment. This tool provides data related to key topics in education, aptitude and feelings about the teaching profession. Scores earned on this assessment are used to determine which candidates are selected for interviews. Top candidates are invited to participate in two rounds of research-based interviews. When implementing each interview model, scoring is a key end result. Multiple administrators conduct and score interviews to ensure validity and meaningful discussion occurs during the comparison of scoring rubrics. The complete battery of questions yields scores to determine if candidates continue to the next round. Candidates who perform well in the first and second rounds of the interview process are invited to a final interview with the superintendent, assistant superintendent and executive directors. The final interview explores specific content knowledge and pedagogy. We believe regardless of the selected model(s) you choose, the development of specific hiring goals, involving stakeholders and not deviating from the established process is critically important for successful hiring. We believe our process can be helpful to districts interested in evaluating and revising their interview practices.
Michael Shoaf is entering his 10th year as superintendent of the Rocky River School District. Shoaf completed both his bachelor of science in education and master of arts degrees at The Ohio State University, earned an educational specialist degree from Kent State University, and completed his doctoral studies at Youngstown State University.

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