With 65 combined years of educational experience, we are very excited for this new adventure of supporting districts across the country as recruitment and retention coaches. As we collaborate with the eight districts, known as a NIC (Network Improvement Community), we will share some of the strategies that have proven to be successful in recruitment and retention as well as some of the challenges they have experienced. Our ultimate goal is to find, train and develop the most impactful educators to put in front of our students—and to share our valuable insights with all of you!
How did this come to fruition?
In 2017, a group of school districts in Delaware, Indiana, South Carolina, and Texas formed a Networked Improvement Community (NIC) through the E3 grant to provide one another with support, resources, and coaching. This community is based on an asset-based approach in which effective practices are vetted and shared among educators.
After five years, the network has now expanded to include four additional districts in Pennsylvania, Georgia, Virginia, and one more in Texas. The new E3+ grant is in year two of a three to five year E3+ grant that supports the continued work throughout, which is managed by Leaders Connect.
What are the goals as recruitment and retention coaches?
As we embarked on this exciting journey to be a conduit for our eight districts, we needed to establish a few goals to validate our driving mindsets of what we believe would serve the best interests of the grant. With this in mind we looked at two overall driving mindsets that we believe can help our goal: teacher development.
In other words, what do our districts need most from us?
With retention and recruitment in clear view and as a national concern, we felt that these needs were simply to provide strategies to effectively find a pool of qualified candidates for their vacancy needs and additionally, and in some cases most importantly, climate building strategies for building leaders to keep staffing positions filled!
As we began to drill down from a 40,000 foot view of this journey, we established two initial goals to help guide us.
What will the journey look like?
As we move forward through our journey, we will share certain milestones that will serve as our litmus tests to gauge the progress of our goals. The exciting and at times, stress-inducing aspect of this new position is we don’t necessarily know which “highway” we are going to take! Yes, we have a vision of where we want our districts to be, but life and education has a way of throwing a few curveballs, and with our combined years of experience, we know last minute adjustments may occur and we are ready for the ride.
While there may be times when the minutiae of everyday school life may get in the way of our educators, we hope that we can encourage, not only our Leaders Connect E3+ district leaders, but you, our readers, to stay strong, focused and willing to think outside the box for not only staffing opportunities, but MOST importantly the improved learning environment of our most precious commodities, our students.
We know the time is now! It is our hope that Leaders Connect can grow exponentially and be self-sufficient in the years to come serving more than just our current eight districts. For now, we are honored that you have decided to join us in our journey and we hope that you can gain and apply strategies and encouragement along the way.
Be on the lookout for our next blog post, as we will dive into our “stay interview” results, which will give us an idea on why our districts’ employees choose to remain in their current role or, unfortunately, why they are looking to leave, and most importantly how we effectively approach each situation.
Thank you for joining our R&R journey! We hope you find our future insights, examples, templates, strategies and experiences helpful and inspiring.
About the Author | Jack Birmingham
Jack Birmingham has been a teacher and administrator for over 35 years. Since 2001, Jack’s administrative path included assistant principal, athletic director, principal and assistant superintendent. Currently, he serves as MSD Decatur Township and E3+ Recruitment/Retention coach. Jack continues to serve the leaders of Indiana, mentoring building leaders through the Indiana Association of School Principals and is the author of the school leadership book, Carnivals 2 Theme Parks, published in 2019.
Follow Jack on Twitter, here.