keystoneDr. Dee Weedon, of Keystone Elementary in Memphis, needed to hire more staff as the school transitioned from an optional school with selective admission requirements to a neighborhood school with 180 new students and 10 new teachers. She included all grade-level teams in the hiring process. Teachers collaboratively developed interview questions and scoring rubrics, participated in interviews and reached a consensus on which candidates to hire. Says Dr. Weedon, “One of the first things I did to prepare for this transition was to meet with each teacher individually. While everyone told me they were happy with the school and how it was run, about half of the school’s 20 teachers told me they wanted a greater voice in how things were done.” Dr. Weedon wanted to make sure that by hiring 10 new teachers, “we didn’t create an us-versus-them situation. I also wanted to send the message that it was a new day at Keystone and that there would be some decisions we would all make together. So I decided to include the staff in the hiring process for new teachers.” Says Dr. Weedon of the impact, “Teachers here are very focused; they tend to work very hard. They support one another, they share and they stick up for one another—not because they have to, but because they see themselves as a team. I think the hiring process contributed to that sense of teamwork…. I also think the hiring process helped teachers realize they do have a say, and it strengthened their sense of ownership in the school.”

The power of peer-review and providing a voice for teachers in the school hiring process