It’s All About the Teachers

Jim Collins, the researcher, author, and consultant for focuses on business management and company sustainability and growth and who wrote books like Good to Great, talks about the importance of having the right people on the bus. Starting with “who,” rather what “what” means that you can more easily adapt to a changing world while maintaining a high level of motivation, ultimately leading to a great company.

For us, getting the right people on the bus through hiring a phenomenal teaching staff was essential to the building of Einstein Academy.

But how do we do that?

We talked to quite a few heads of school and asked them about their hiring process. We asked them what questions they ask and what the interview actually looks like. We ask them if they require some sort of performance assessment or portfolio. We asked them how they know that the teacher is the right fit. We really wanted to make sure we had the right people on the bus, and we had to figure out how to do that.

After all of these conversations, we sat down and seriously considered what we wanted in a teacher. How much did we care about degrees and academic credentials? What about years in the classroom or professional development? Were there specific skills or areas of interest we needed?

Ultimately, for us, what is most important is that our teachers love kids and are open to learning, and we can teach anything beyond that. Fortunately, for us, we found three amazing teachers who fit that criteria and more!

We met Noga in fall of 2019. She had heard about our school from someone in the community and really wanted to be involved. We sat down with her for an initial conversation in September, and we immediately connected. Noga is a passionate educator with thirteen years of experience with students with diverse learning needs. As a native Israeli, she brings a connection to Israel and Jewish values and culture that is very much in line with our philosophy. She also has a master’s degree in movement therapy and believes in connecting with students in various ways.

When we received Arina’s resume, we weren’t sure why she would want to be involved at Einstein Academy. She had an incredibly strong resume, based on experience in public school. So we asked her. Her response started like this: “This application is mostly a call for help to take me, a rather experienced and creative teacher, away from the system of tests, constant data monitoring, focus on results, fear for exams in students’ and teachers’ minds and teacher led instruction!” Arina loved kids and education; she just felt trapped in the system and needed rescuing. With a master’s degree in education and focus on linguistics (and a passion for storytelling), we are happy to have “rescued” Arina.

We loved Caterina’s experience and love of the outdoors as well as her focus on Montessori and Reggio Emilia schools (both student-centered approaches out of Italy). She had spent time in Italy. In her letter to us, she spoke about the importance of “diversity of teaching methods for different learning styles, and assessments to understand thought process and retention of information. Most importantly, experiences like these have exposed me to the importance of building relationships with each student and their family to better improve not only the individual students, but the learning environment as a whole.” With our differentiated approach and focus on building relationships with families, she was speaking our language. We appreciated Caterina’s energy and enthusiasm and were so excited to have her on board with our as our first Resident Teacher (a program we created to support the growth of a emerging teacher through coaching and a variety of classroom opportunities).

Our teachers began working with us full-time this week, a full four weeks before school begins on August 17. Already we have discussed student-centered learning and social-emotional growth as well as teaching and assessing skills like critical thinking and collaboration and delved into what a student-centered standards-based curriculum that is differentiated for each student looks like. Next up: personalized learning profiles, assessment of student learning, communicating with families, and more.

We couldn’t be more excited to have these three amazing people on the bus with us as we embark on this journey! We can’t wait to see where they will help take us!

To learn more about our team, click here.

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