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Article
Publication date: 11 April 2016

Mimi Engel and F. Chris Curran

The purpose of this paper is to explore variation across principals in terms of the number and types of strategies they engage in to find teachers to fill the vacancies in…

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1531

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore variation across principals in terms of the number and types of strategies they engage in to find teachers to fill the vacancies in their schools. The practices that the authors consider to be strategic are aligned with the district’s goals and objectives for teacher recruitment.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors selected 31 schools from the Chicago Public Schools system through a combination of stratified random sampling and purposive sampling. Through analysis of qualitative interviews with the 31 principals of these schools, the authors explore a range of principals’ hiring strategies and provide brief case examples to illuminate differences in hiring practices across principals.

Findings

The authors find that the majority of principals in the sample engage in relatively few of the practices considered strategic. Interestingly, sample principals who engaged in seven or more strategic practices were more likely to work in high schools than in elementary schools.

Research limitations/implications

While the range of strategic hiring practices the authors explore provides a starting point for analyzing principals’ hiring practices, it is important to recognize that the list of strategies the authors consider is not exhaustive. For instance, the context of the study did not allow the authors to analyze practices such as the consideration of teacher value-added scores.

Practical implications

This study should be replicated in other contexts in order to see whether and how principals’ hiring practices vary by country, geographic location, urbanicity, and other factors.

Originality/value

This study is the first, to the authors’ knowledge, to detail principals’ hiring practices in relation to their district’s teacher recruitment plan with the aim of adding to the knowledge base on teacher hiring.

Details

Journal of Educational Administration, vol. 54 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0957-8234

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Article
Publication date: 16 August 2011

Kyle Ingle, Stacey Rutledge and Jennifer Bishop

School principals make sense of multiple messages, policies, and contexts within their school environments. The purpose of this paper is to examine specifically how school…

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2478

Abstract

Purpose

School principals make sense of multiple messages, policies, and contexts within their school environments. The purpose of this paper is to examine specifically how school leaders make sense of hiring and subjective evaluation of on‐the‐job teacher performance.

Design/methodology/approach

This qualitative study drew from 42 interviews with 21 principals from a mid‐sized Florida school district. Two rounds of semi‐structured interviews (one to two hours each) were conducted with the informants over two summers (2005‐2006). The multi‐year study allows the authors to assess the consistency across principal participants.

Findings

Principals' personal beliefs, background, and experiences were found to shape their conceptions and preferences for teacher characteristics. School type (e.g. elementary, secondary, levels of poverty) also influenced principals' perceptions of and preferences for specific applicant and teacher characteristics. Principals in the sample, however, showed surprising consistency towards certain characteristics (caring, subject matter knowledge, strong teaching skills) and job fit (person‐job). Sampled principals reported that each vacancy is different and is highly dependent on the position, team, and individuals. Regardless of the position or school setting, federal, state, and district mandates strongly influenced how principals made sense of the hiring process and on‐the‐job performance.

Practical implications

The findings underscore the complexity of the human resource functions in education and raise important questions of how school leaders reconcile personal preferences and building‐level needs with demands from the district, state, and federal levels.

Originality/value

The authors' findings offer important insight into the complex conceptualizations that principals hold and the balances that must be struck in the face of policy and hiring constraints. How principals make sense of teacher quality, however, has not been examined. This study contributes to the extant research and makes a theoretical contribution to studies using a cognitive frame to understand school leadership.

Details

Journal of Educational Administration, vol. 49 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0957-8234

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Article
Publication date: 3 April 2018

Kyle Ingle, Cynthia T. Thompson and Zipporah W. Abla

The purpose of this paper is to answer the following research questions: what characteristics do key Belizean educational leaders value in teacher applicants and why? What…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to answer the following research questions: what characteristics do key Belizean educational leaders value in teacher applicants and why? What hiring tools do they use to ascertain whether teacher applicants have the characteristics they prefer?

Design/methodology/approach

The authors utilized a mixed-methods approach drawing upon three data sources – face-to-face interviews with Belizean educational leaders, field notes, and government documents. A card sorting activity of applicant characteristics and tools was embedded into the interview.

Findings

Informants preferred motivation, caring, subject matter knowledge, and teaching skills. Intelligence was perceived as a potentially negative characteristic unless coupled with other characteristics, such as strong teaching skills, motivation, and caring or the umbrella of other characteristics, such as content knowledge or university training/credentialing. Professional characteristics, such as where one went for teacher training and academic performance, were perceived as having less relative importance than personal characteristics. Least important were applicant demographics. Consistent with the extant literature, Belizean informants perceived the interview, evidence of prior experience, and certification as the most important tools in vetting and hiring applicants.

Research limitations/implications

The exploratory study is limited by the small sample of informants, but provides insights into preferences for applicant characteristics and hiring tools in an understudied international context. This study informs future research that may seek to survey representative samples of various stakeholder groups (i.e. general managers and principals) for their preferences in applicant characteristics and hiring tools from across Belizean schools and educational providers.

Originality/value

The study adds to limited research on preferred teacher characteristics among educational leaders responsible for hiring and/or working with teachers and to the limited international educational leadership research.

Details

Journal of Educational Administration, vol. 56 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0957-8234

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Article
Publication date: 6 December 2017

Mimi Engel, Marisa Cannata and F. Chris Curran

Over the past decade, policy researchers and advocates have called for the decentralization of teacher hiring decisions from district offices to school principals. The…

Abstract

Purpose

Over the past decade, policy researchers and advocates have called for the decentralization of teacher hiring decisions from district offices to school principals. The purpose of this paper is to document the trends across two and a half decades in principals’ reported influence over teacher hiring decisions in the USA and explore how and whether principal influence varies systematically across contexts.

Design/methodology/approach

Regression analysis with secondary data using seven waves of nationally representative data from the Schools and Staffing Survey.

Findings

Principals report increased influence over the 25 years that the data span. While principals of urban schools were much more likely to report having less influence over teacher hiring compared to their non-urban counterparts in the late 1980s and early 1990s, their reported influence increased more than that of other principals.

Research limitations/implications

Empowering principals as primary decision-makers assumes that they have the best information on which to make hiring decisions. At the same time, other research suggests that local teacher labor market dynamics contribute to the inequitable sorting of teachers across schools. This study raises questions regarding the implications of the increased influence of principals in teacher hiring on equity of access to quality teachers across schools.

Originality/value

This is the first study to explore whether and how principal influence in teacher hiring decisions has changed over time.

Details

Journal of Educational Administration, vol. 56 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0957-8234

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Article
Publication date: 7 June 2021

W. Kyle Ingle, Namok Choi and Marco A. Munoz

We surveyed educational leaders in a large, urban school district in the southeastern United States, examining: (1) the factor structure of scores from a new measure of…

Abstract

Purpose

We surveyed educational leaders in a large, urban school district in the southeastern United States, examining: (1) the factor structure of scores from a new measure of administrators' preferred teacher applicant characteristics, and (2) the relationships between administrator demographics and their preferences.

Design/methodology/approach

We implemented a non-experimental, cross-sectional survey design using the Preferred Teacher Applicant Characteristics Survey (PTACS). We undertook descriptive and exploratory factor analyses in order to examine dimensions and underlying patterns among the 31 survey items. The retained factors served as the dependent variables in our multiple regression analyses.

Findings

We identified a four-factor structure: (1) personal, (2) professional, (3) student outcomes, and (4) demographics. Our analyses suggest that there was not meaningful variability in administrators' preferred characteristics of applicants across racial and gender variables, but revealed a significant difference between principals and assistant principals for applicant demographics.

Research limitations/implications

Our findings are limited in their generalizability to the respondents from a single urban district who completed our survey in spring 2018. Although we cannot establish causation, the significant difference between principals and assistant principals for demographics may result from principals feeling greater pressure from district targets to hire diverse staff than their assistant principal counterparts. It is important to note that preferences for teacher applicant characteristics are different from actual hiring decisions and the availability of preferred characteristics.

Originality/value

Our study is the first large-scale use of the instrument in a large US urban school district, a context, which poses significant challenges to the education of youth as well as the hiring and retention of educators.

Details

Journal of Educational Administration, vol. 59 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0957-8234

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Article
Publication date: 12 January 2015

Gary Schumacher, Bettye Grigsby and Winona Vesey

One bad hiring decision can lead to low student achievement. Research supports that teachers are the most influential factor in student success. As a result, principals…

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2266

Abstract

Purpose

One bad hiring decision can lead to low student achievement. Research supports that teachers are the most influential factor in student success. As a result, principals’ current practice of hiring teachers based on intuition and likeability must change. Given the current high stakes era, principals need reassurance that the teachers they hire can indeed meet the needs of the students and the goals of the school. The purpose of this paper is to determine which interview protocol questions would predict high levels of effective teaching behaviors exhibited by teachers in the classroom.

Design/methodology/approach

A convenience sample of 600 working teachers responded to a 93-item Likert-scale online questionnaire related to the four domains of effective teaching behaviors: classroom management, organizing instruction, implementing instruction, and monitoring progress and potential. The researchers first analyzed the teacher responses to assess their reliability and validity. A regression analysis was then run to indicate which effective teacher domains (the predictor variables); best predicted average student achievement scores (the outcome variable). Regression analysis was used to predict high-quality teachers (i.e. teachers with high average gain scores) given responses to interview questions (predictor variables).

Findings

Successful teachers in this study utilized multiple strategies when handling the area of classroom management and organization. In the area of organizing instruction, key elements such as the objective, individual or group activities, and assessments were included in the daily lesson plan. The structure of the lesson delivery and the different learning styles of students were considered when planning a lesson. In this research, teachers utilized various instructional strategies when implementing instruction to challenge all learners, accommodate different learning styles, and to ensure student success. Successful teachers in this study monitored student progress and potential using a variety of methods.

Research limitations/implications

The research was conducted in two districts. Future studies could expand on the research using multiple districts in several locations. Data were self-reported by current teachers and cannot be independently verified. Researchers relied on the information provided by teachers and trusted their responses to be accurate. Future studies could include a qualitative piece to determine why monitoring student progress and potential produced a negative result on student performance, classroom management was not significantly related to performance in language arts, and organization for instruction was not significantly related to performance in mathematics.

Originality/value

This longitudinal study will provide hiring authorities with research-based protocols that have proven to predict high levels of teaching quality, which research has shown to be single most important determinant of student achievement.

Details

International Journal of Educational Management, vol. 29 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-354X

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Article
Publication date: 1 August 2016

Ben Pogodzinski

The purpose of this paper is to identify the extent to which human resources (HR) decision making is influenced by the social context of school systems. More specifically…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to identify the extent to which human resources (HR) decision making is influenced by the social context of school systems. More specifically, this study draws upon organizational theory focussed on the microfoundations of organizations as a lens identify key aspects of school HR decision making at the district and school level.

Design/methodology/approach

Interview data were collected from district-level HR directors and local union presidents across 11 districts in Michigan and Indiana. The interviews provided information on the formal and informal aspects HR management. The interviews were audio recorded and transcribed, and the constant comparative method was used to move from initial codes to higher levels of abstraction (Miles and Huberman, 1994; Strauss and Corbin, 1990). Multiple data collection methods were utilized to help validate the interview data that were collected (Stake, 2004).

Findings

The key findings show that social relationships, particularly at the school level, influence the distribution of teachers within a district. The findings support the need for closer attention to be given to the social dynamics of school systems and the impact this has on HR decision making, particular with regard to the influence of informal organizational structures and day-to-day interactions within systems.

Originality/value

The current body of research does not fully attend conceptually or empirically to the broader social context of a school system which shape HR decisions. Specifically, researchers and practitioners need to further address the ways that the social dynamics of school systems shape administrative decision making with regard to HR management.

Details

Journal of Educational Administration, vol. 54 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0957-8234

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Article
Publication date: 29 June 2018

Jason Giersch and Christopher Dong

What do principals look for when hiring teachers? The purpose of this paper is to extend the knowledge concerning what aspects of teacher quality are in demand among the…

Abstract

Purpose

What do principals look for when hiring teachers? The purpose of this paper is to extend the knowledge concerning what aspects of teacher quality are in demand among the individuals who administer schools and make hiring decisions.

Design/methodology/approach

Rather than employing interviews or surveys, the authors utilized a conjoint instrument that assembled teacher characteristics into fictitious applicant profiles. Participating North Carolina public school principals (n = 467) then chose among the computer-generated options and regression analysis allowed the authors to identify preferences in the aggregate.

Findings

Principals in this study preferred applicants with classroom experience, but those with 15 years were no more preferred than those with 5. They also preferred applicants with more education, but an advanced degree was no more preferred than a bachelor’s from a highly selective institution. Preference for teachers who are committed to state standards varied with schools’ performance on state tests.

Originality/value

Conjoint analysis is a useful tool for measuring preferences but is underutilized in research on education administration. This paper contributes not only to the body of knowledge about school principal behavior but also to the field’s familiarity of research techniques.

Details

Journal of Educational Administration, vol. 56 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0957-8234

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Article
Publication date: 6 December 2017

Chad R. Lochmiller

The purpose of this paper is to examine the micropolitical strategies principals use to influence school staffing within an urban school district.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine the micropolitical strategies principals use to influence school staffing within an urban school district.

Design/methodology/approach

The author used a qualitative case study approach drawing upon 47 semi-structured participant interviews with 25 individual research participants, 80 hours of observations, and 36 district artifacts. The author completed an iterative analysis using ATLAS.ti with a coding scheme informed by the educational leadership, human resource management, and micropolitical literatures.

Findings

The findings illustrate that school principals engaged productively within district staffing procedures to influence the allocation and composition of teaching staff within their schools. The iterative analysis identified three micropolitical strategies employed by school principals, including advocacy, acquiring leverage, and networking. First, principals used advocacy to shape personnel staff’s understanding of school needs. Second, principals acquired leverage over staffing by enlisting the support of their school supervisor. Finally, principals networked with colleagues to identify teachers within the district’s transfer system for possible hire.

Research limitations/implications

The findings have both practical and research significance. Practically, the findings highlight how principals engage in leadership within the context of district staffing processes. With respect to research, the findings address an important gap in the literature as it pertains to principal’s leadership actions in relation to internal district administrative processes.

Originality/value

The findings of this study are unique in that they challenge the conventional view of district staffing procedures, which has typically framed these procedures as barriers to principal leadership. The findings suggest district staffing procedures can be a forum for productive leadership actions.

Details

Journal of Educational Administration, vol. 56 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0957-8234

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Article
Publication date: 3 June 2014

Dora Ho and Haze Lam

The function of early childhood education (ECE) has shifted from mothering to nurturing child development in Hong Kong. Teaching in kindergartens seems to be more…

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2564

Abstract

Purpose

The function of early childhood education (ECE) has shifted from mothering to nurturing child development in Hong Kong. Teaching in kindergartens seems to be more attractive to men nowadays. The purpose of this paper is to explore the issues of male participation in ECE through a case study of a local kindergarten.

Design/methodology/approach

A case study methodology was used in the research design and the data were collected through semi-structured interviews. The interviewees all came from a single, case study school, and included the kindergarten principal, head teacher, teachers, both Chinese and foreign nationals, and parents.

Findings

The findings of the study indicated that most of the school staff support hiring male teachers in kindergartens and perceive that male teachers play an important role in educating young children. On the other hand, the views of parents who participated in the study were divided. This reflects gender bias on the part of parents.

Originality/value

Minimal research on male participation in kindergartens has been conducted in Hong Kong. The findings of the study shed some light on the issues of male participation in ECE in a Chinese context. It is argued that overcoming the low participation of male teachers in ECE will require changes in deeply rooted institutional and management practices. From a wider perspective, providing better career prospects and improving the professional status of kindergarten teachers will attract more men to teach in kindergartens.

Details

International Journal of Educational Management, vol. 28 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-354X

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