(Originally posted on Our Work, Their Education.)

By Michael Wirtz

As I have written previously, January and February are busy months for those of us in independent schools with hiring responsibilities. Having spent the last two days at one of the largest independent school hiring fairs in the country, I was immersed in the world of hiring, an aspect of my work that I truly love. It was great to meet with so many qualified candidates over the course of my two days.  My challenge, however, was getting to know these amazing educators quickly and making a determination as to how they might make us a better school.michael-wirtz.quote

When I sit with a candidate, I make every attempt to allow the interview to be conversational, while always trying to unearth salient characteristics related to pedagogy, temperament, growth potential, and ability to help outside of the classroom.  However, the question that may matter the most is likely the one that schools may not raise often enough in a first round interview: How can you help our institution move conversations about difference, diversity, equity, and multiculturalism from the periphery and into the curriculum? Can you point to examples of doing so in your current work or experience?

The biggest opportunity for a school to move this work forward may come at this time of year. By hiring and then supporting teachers that are comfortable wrestling with these challenging topics alongside students, schools can truly elevate the level of conversation on campus. So to those of you interviewing candidates over the next several weeks, go ahead and ask about the level of language someone can teach, her experience in developing electives, or his comfort in running a dorm. But if you want to move your school ahead, don’t leave the challenging topics out of the interview. You community will thank you later…



Michael Wirtz is the Assistant Head/Dean of Faculty at St. Mark’s (MA). He shares his insights on his website, Our Work, Their Education. Follow Mark on Twitter at @michaelcwirtz