Pursuit of Excellence

untitledMissy Baldwin asked the key question at a Jefferson ISD meeting last week to discuss the district’s accountability ratings. Baldwin wanted to know what the district could do to attract better teachers.

“Why do quality teachers not want to come to our district?” Baldwin asked. “All I hear is how bad Jefferson is. I believe in in our school district. I think we are better than the ones around us.”

“We advertise for applicants,” Superintendent Rob Barnwell replied. “It’s tough. It’s hard.” I can sympathize. For nearly five decades it was my job to hire and fire. Attempting to get the best and the brightest to relocate to rural East Texas communities at the rate of pay we could afford was tough.

Too often, you take one of two approaches.

PLAN A: You hire someone with a local connection. They may not have been on the Dean’s List every semester, but there is a good chance they will hang around for a while.

PLAN B: You attempt to do the best that you can with the ones willing to work for you. You invest in your department heads and count on them to train up the newbies.

The price of failure to attract top tier talent is high. Inbred recruiting may shorten the learning curve, but does not, in most cases, raise the organizational bar. Accepting those who could not get hired elsewhere means you will always be studying the other guy’s tail lights.

Thinking Jefferson can not do better is no longer (if it ever was) acceptable. New pay schedules mean Jefferson ISD is now competitive with larger neighbors. An attitude of resignation and passivity can not be tolerated.

I am certain you know by this time that JISD received an… (a subscription to the Jimplecute is required to continue reading this article).

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