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How to Find—and Keep—Excellent Teachers, Faculty, and Staff

Walden education students, faculty, and alumni share their tips.


October 2008


A critical issue in K–12 and university-level education is attrition of talented employees, be they educators or administrators. Students, faculty, and alumni of Walden’s Richard W. Riley College of Education and Leadership offer their suggestions about how schools and universities can best attract and retain excellent teachers, faculty, and staff.


“[Private schools should] make sure that they have their goals and their mission statement clearly defined so that prospective teachers can very easily know what their experience—if they teach there—is going to be about. For example, if the school is very progressive—if it uses cooperative learning and multiple intelligences and differentiated instruction—that should be made very clear in the interview process so that a teacher who is traditional, who is not comfortable doing those types of things, will not be hired and expected to [teach in those ways].”


Karen Kuers Student, Ed.D. program, 2nd grade teacher, Windermere Preparatory School, Windermere, FL



“The best thing schools can do to retain [special education] teachers is to provide a longer amount of mentoring time for them. Currently, new teachers get about one year, but one year is not enough time to learn a job that is very stressful. Several years of mentoring from experienced teachers would help alleviate that stress.”


Kathie Argo Student, Ph.D. program, Inclusion teacher, Pease Middle School, San Antonio, TX



“What makes [teachers happy] is a good administration that supports the teachers, and that, when there is an issue, will work with the teachers and everyone else to resolve the situation and doesn’t just say that the teacher’s automatically wrong. A good administration [also] encourages professional development—allows teachers to take days to do professional development, improve their skills and keep up on the latest technology.”


Debbie Stanke ’08, M.S.Ed., Middle Level Education, 6th and 8th grade teacher, Anna F. Doerfler Community School, Milwaukee, WI



“Make sure that demands on the new teacher are not overwhelming. Too often we hear of a new teacher who is required to coach or advise a club as part of their employment; the time these extra duties require can be quite stressful.”


Melissa Campasino ’06, M.S.Ed., Mathematics teacher, Fallston High School, Harford County, MD



“[Other] teachers should be friendly, helpful, and enthusiastic about what you are doing, [because teaching] is the most important profession on the planet. Mentoring is the key to hindering teacher attrition.”


Amanda Page McCall ’04 M.S.Ed., Elementary Reading and Literacy, 1st grade teacher, Flat Rock Elementary, Anderson, SC



“Staff development is critical for retention. [As a middle school principal], I would do a week retreat before every school year began, aligning teachers with the school's purpose. Teachers benefit from ongoing professional training, they have to feel secure—it's important that teachers feel that the administration is loyal to them—and they have to know that their efforts are appreciated.”


Arline Kalishman Walden faculty, M.S.Ed. program, Former middle school principal, St. Louis County, MO


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