The key to student success is to have great teachers in our classrooms. As the human-resource director for Worthington City Schools, my most important responsibility is to attract and retain high-quality teachers for our students. It takes a special person to be a Worthington teacher, and the process to identify our future staff is rigorous.
As spring approaches, we will begin to fill vacancies for the 2014-15 school year, and in recent years, Worthington has experienced more retirements than it has in decades, including more than 170 staff retirements since 2009.
Some of this is due to community demographics. Worthington experienced a hiring boom in the 1980s, when our enrollment was growing, and now many of those teachers are reaching retirement age.
In addition, Worthington, along with most school districts in Ohio, is seeing an increase in retirements because of changes to the teachers' retirement system. It already was a great challenge to replace our excellent teaching staff, but with many of our school district's peers across the state facing the same issues, the competition to recruit and retain great teachers has never been greater.
The process starts long before any new teacher enters a Worthington school building. In an effort to bring the best and brightest to Worthington, our administrators attend teacher recruiting fairs and university visits all over Ohio. We make sure the process allows candidates and schools to have multiple face-to-face interactions to determine if there is a mutual interest and a good fit between our district's needs and the candidate. Once we've identified top-tier candidates, these potential teachers meet and interview with key people in the district and at the building level.
As you can imagine, our building principals play a vital role in hiring a new teacher. They know their buildings best and work hard to identify those candidates who meet the specific needs and culture of the school building. Our principals ultimately make the final decision. In fact, it is probably the most important part of a principal's job.
In Worthington, we believe it is the quality of our teaching staff that sets us apart from other high-achieving school districts. We believe that Worthington educators are high performers. Their commitment to the needs of students drives them to work and learn beyond restrictions of a contract, calendar or daily schedule.
When a teacher joins the Worthington City Schools team, our parents, students and community members can be confident they are purpose-driven and relationship-minded and possess sound teaching and learning skills. We're looking for only those teachers who are willing to make the commitment necessary to continue Worthington's culture of absolute excellence.
Randy Banks is the Human Resources Director of Worthington Schools.