Sunday, October 29, 2017

Who We Hire Matters

In seven years serving in Montpelier Public Schools, I am fortunate to have hired many, many people to serve with us.  I consider hiring to be my most substantive, practical contribution to the work of education in our district.  Whether a teacher, a member of the Leadership Team or a staff member, we all work together to make the mission a reality for all our students and their families.  People make the difference in the human endeavor of education. 

This past week, I had a first.  I had the privilege of hiring a student who graduated during the time that I've been serving as Superintendent of Schools.  This is not something that I will ever forget.  In all my time in education, I have never hired someone who has graduated from the place where I served, while I was there. 

The first thought that crossed my mind when I saw the name was, "Wow, I'm getting old."  This often happens to me when I come across students from my past years in education.  Thanks to Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, I am able to reconnect with students from as far away as Chicago.  In my mind, they are still in the same classrooms and grade cohorts when I last saw them.  It's mind boggling to me when I see they have real jobs, when they have gotten married, and in some cases they now have children of their own.  It truly is the only thing that makes me feel old; when I see where my former students are now, based on where and when I knew them. 

My second thought when I saw the name of the candidate being recommended to me was sheer pride and a deep, deep sense of gratitude for all the adults that shaped this young person during their time in MPS.  I can think of no greater compliment to our district than when a student graduates and then chooses to apply to work professionally with us again.  And to be clear, I take no credit for this.  This young person graduated in 2013, and I was only in MPS for two years when they walked across the stage and we shook hands. 

In the interview, it was clear that this young person deliberately and thoughtfully applied to MPS.  This was not someone who simply put in an application anywhere the professional skill set was a match.  In my experience, rarely do those applicants get to my desk for an interview.  No, this individual wanted to return to the community that was responsible for a K - 12 education that still was in the forefront of his mind.  Naming people who made a difference in that journey for him was easy, and the reasons for those people's mention had substance and meaning. 

The other reason why this was a special hire to me, besides the reality of it being my first, is that I knew this young person.  He made a point of introducing himself and having many conversations with me during my first two years.  We have stayed in touch since graduation, as I've written letters of recommendation on his behalf.  This individual has stopped by Central Office when home on breaks and has made a point of being present in MPS.  It was clear to me that there was a sense of community that mattered to this young person and so it was no surprise that he applied for a job, so that he could continue to engender the sense of community he felt. 

To all the individuals that shaped the education of Alex Clark, MHS Class of 2013, I thank you for making his experience one that left an indelible place in his heart and made him want to serve with us professionally.  Please help me welcome him home to the MPS Community!

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