Principals, Athletic directors, and long term substitutes: the complex process of hiring new staff


Katie Tsang, Web News Editor

The school has hired a new athletic director, found long-term substitute teachers for unpredictable staff absences, and started searching for a new principal since the beginning of the second semester. The process of finding these candidates is complex and different based on the position being filled. 


The search for a new principal started after Principal Michael Jimenez announced on Feb. 15 that he would be retiring at the end of the 2021-22 school year. The district has been using Leader Associates, a superintendent and school leader search firm, to look for candidates around the nation. 


Leader Associates and the district have conducted zoom sessions, had in-person meetings, and created surveys to gather community input in the initial phase of the search. 


Leyla Benson, the Associate Superintendent for Personnel, oversees hiring and recruitment in the district. She said that the district wanted to make hiring a new principal accessible so that all stakeholders could participate. 


“Principals have one of the most difficult positions in the district. It’s a lot of responsibility. It’s super important to student success,” Benson said. 


Tim Lugo was recently hired as the Athletic Director after Shelley Smith’s retirement was announced on Jan. 7. He has also been hired as the Head Football Coach, a job that Smith once occupied. Benson said that the hiring process for the two jobs was separate and required different qualifications. Coaching positions are also known as EPED positions, which stand for “Extra Pay for Extra Duty” positions. 


“Each process has similar steps, but a little bit different processes,” Benson said. 


In the case of a teacher leaving mid-year due to medical reasons, maternity leave, or other circumstances, the district takes several courses of action to fill the role. 


Some of the first steps the district takes are to look into the sub-pool and ask other teachers on campus if they would be willing to pick up extra sections. For example, after Kelsey Theriault took maternity leave, Maria Carter-Giannini, and Latina Wharton, teachers who already teach US history, took over different periods for her. The district also asks retired teachers who have left the district if they are able to come back and work. 


Positions are also posted in case a credentialed candidate is available, namely someone who recently graduated from a teaching college or just moved to the area. 


In certain cases, the district uses third-party providers online to provide support. Several Chemistry Honors classes have been using Edgenuity, an online curriculum, due to unforeseen circumstances since the beginning of the semester. 


“It is sort of a major puzzle piece. And that’s part of our role in personnel, to continuously work when these things do come up,” Benson said. 


It can be difficult to find teachers with specific credentials mid-year because they have often signed a contract with their district for the entire year, Benson said. 


For general recruitment and hiring, MVLA uses Edjoin, which, according to Benson, is the standard recruiting website for positions in education. 


If a position is available, the school will post the opening both on Edjoin and internally to see if anyone in the district is interested. The applicants are then screened for certain criteria depending on the position and interviewed by a panel who makes a recommendation to the district. The individual also needs to provide references as a part of the background check before being eligible for hire. 


“We really do work behind the scenes tirelessly because we don’t want the students to miss out, right? Nobody does,” Benson said.