Wednesday, April 27, 2016

You Are Hired!

It has been a very busy hiring season at Hudson schools. Fortunately we are on the backside of this process! In the last month we have hired six new teachers, replacing seven that will not be returning for the 2016-2017 school year. Due to increasing enrollment, we have also hired a half-time science teacher in the middle school. Depending on kindergarten enrollment, we may need to hire an additional teacher there as well. As has been past practice we will let that trajectory continue to percolate until later in the summer. Right now we are projecting numbers in the low 50s, but it continues to be very fluid! 

Four of six teaching positions that have been filled are at the elementary level. As you might imagine those positions were incredibly competitive. The candidate pool was very deep and rich with qualified applicants. The mere speculation that Hudson will have an open position for an elementary teacher can yield dozens of applications before we even have a chance to begin the process! Admittedly, because the volume of applications is so large it is impossible to interview every qualified candidate that crosses the desk of our hiring agents. Hiring of personnel at Hudson is delegated to the building principal or department head who will be charged with supervising and evaluating that employee. Our district conducts a very thorough and detailed process when it comes to the recruitment and selection of personnel.

It starts with crafting the announcement of a vacancy. That announcement tells potential applicants what we are looking for in our teaching staff and what we value. After the position has been posted internally, it is posted externally on the employment page of our website

After collecting applications, the goal is to narrow the pool down to about four candidates. This is accomplished by screening applicants for certain endorsements, checking references, and considering the amount of experience the candidate has. Too much experience can be as much of a deterrence as too little or no experience.

When it comes to deciding which candidates will be invited to interview for our positions, the number and type of endorsements the candidate holds carry the most weight. Because of the importance we place on reading instruction in our district, a reading endorsement is considered the gold standard. Beyond that, candidates who hold special education endorsements or other content area endorsements are also incredibly valuable and key to getting an interview. Not only do these added endorsements provide a greater base of content knowledge and instructional strategies for our teaching staff, but they also provide greater flexibility in job assignments a few years down the road. Ironically, candidates who hold a Master's Degree in lieu of these endorsements oftentimes have less flexibility in job assignment.

Once the slate of candidates is set, the hiring agent will discuss the candidates with those who will be colleagues of the new employee and the superintendent. An interview schedule is developed, and candidates are invited to the district to meet with the interview team. For teaching positions, this most commonly consists of the building principal and a team of teachers who will be working with the new teacher. Following the interview, the team discusses the strengths of the candidates and selects the person they think is the best fit for the district. However, the building principal or department head has the final say regarding who will be made an offer. Yet in the vast majority of cases, the building principal and teacher group concurs with the selection. Following reference and background checks, an official offer is made. 

The following teachers have accepted offers of employment in the Hudson Community School District for the 2016-2017 academic year:
  1. Sarah Koch, (Hud '11) Special Education
  2. Sara Cartney, (Hud '10) Kindergarten
  3. Samantha Roelfs, Third Grade
  4. Kayleigh Cuvelier, Fifth/Sixth Grade (science emphasis)
  5. Nicole Davis, Instrumental Music
  6. Casey Tecklenburg, 7-12 Vocal Music
  7. Kate Thilges, Seventh/Eight Science (part-time)
We'll be sure to share more about the background of these new teachers as the 2016-2017 school year draws closer. Be sure to check our website for more information as it becomes available. Now a little advice for the dreamers and job seekers out there! 

License endorsements trump a Master's Degree most of the time. In many cases, an MA makes sense in the following circumstances: a specialized education job (i.e. guidance counselor, administrator, school psychologist, or college teacher). The MA can also be useful for those secondary instructors interested in teaching college level, concurrent enrollment courses--but be warned! This will only prove beneficial if your MA is in the content knowledge area of the college course you wish to teach. If you are determined to obtain an MA for the purposes of salary advancement, please 'get where you want to be' before starting and completing this work. 

Research your potential employer! It is critical that job candidates understand and be able to speak to the core values and initiatives of the school district. In the case of Hudson, we are invested in teacher leadership and connected learning. We have also placed a heavy emphasis on reading and math the last three years. Candidates that can speak to these initiatives and articulate how they can help the district achieve their goals put themselves ahead of the competition.

Manage your social media footprint! Candidates should be prepared to answer questions regarding their social media use. You should assume that you will be 'Googled'. Be very careful about what you post on your social media accounts. A fun picture from your days in college or on the weekend can be a disqualifying event. As an aside, if you don't have a social media footprint, this can have a negative impact as well. This is 2016! If you are not connected yourself, how can you contribute to our connected learning environment?

To those who have successfully navigated the process, we welcome you to the Hudson Community School District! We can't wait to have you join our team and contribute to our students' success!

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