You Weren’t Hired To Maintain The Status Quo

Dr. Justin Tarte is one of the most influential people I follow on Twitter. He continuously shares relevant material that both reinforces and challenges my thinking. If you don’t mind, Justin, I would like to borrow this powerful quote you shared as part of some very important work I will be carrying out over the next few days. UnknownMy plan is to visit a number of teachers in my district to personally present them with their continuous contract. A contract they have earned over the last number of months. One that has been recommended by the principal of their school after a year of formal and informal observations. They have, in no small way, proven themselves to be the kind of teacher we are ready to commit to for the rest of their career and I want to remind them that this is a big deal. After visiting their classroom and observing them teaching one final time this year, not only do I plan to present them with a copy of Justin’s quote, I will share a few other thoughts as well:

  1. We are offering you this contract because we see you as a forward thinking and innovative teacher who will do whatever is necessary to help your students experience success.
  2. We are offering you this contract because you are a risk-taker, always pushing the envelope with your teaching.
  3. We are offering you this contract because you have a growth mindset.
  4. We are offering you this contract because it is evident that you see the value in collaboration, constantly building your own capacity and that of your colleagues.
  5. We are offering you this contract because you have shown us that you know how to meet the needs of all learners, making the learning experience relevant to them.
  6. I encourage you to continue the development of your digital portfolio. It will assist you in identifying areas in which you excel as well as areas in which you could continue to grow. It will also provide you with a body of evidence on which you can continuously reflect.
  7. We are offering you this contract because it is obvious that you love children, and that they love you.
  8. We’re counting on you and so are your students.

I could have sent the contract out via our inter-school mail system, but I want each of them to know that the decision to offer a continuous contract is a very difficult one that requires a great deal of conversation and reflection. So I’m going to take the time to go to them. As Superintendent Karl Germann says, it is like offering “a million dollar contract.”

As I near the end of my first year in the role of Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources I’ve come to see this as my most important work – inviting the very best teachers to become permanent members of our district family. I hope they will never forget why.

Categories: Capacity Building, Education Transformation, Human Resources | Tags: , , , , , | 5 Comments

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5 thoughts on “You Weren’t Hired To Maintain The Status Quo

  1. Greg. You rank right up there with Dr Justin Tarte. You ask challenging questions and you always make me pause and think about my role as a teacher and learner. It makes me feel good when administrators take their role of lead learner seriously.

    Your district will always be special because you take the time to build lasting relationships. Your students will always flourish because you always put them front and center in all the decisions you make. You also embrace change and original thought. You are not just leading the teachers and students in your district you have an impact on teaching and learning around the world. Thanks for continuing to take risks, to lead in the present with an eye on the future, and for being transparent and vulnerable by sharing with all of us.


  2. Pingback: The Status Quo | 40phor

  3. Pingback: What Do We Do With What We’ve Got? | Educational Leadership in the 21st Century

  4. Greg, this is incredibly thoughtful. I am a teacher, not an administrator, and I know I would find it nearly impossible to come up with a set of firm criteria for good teaching. The eight points in your contract letter come close to it.

    I teach a lot of first-year college writing courses, and one recurring challenge is to convince the students that they need these critical thinking and writing skills. When you say “meet the students’ needs” you are very much on the right track, I think. Really good contract letter.

    Tom Durwood
    Valley Forge Military College


  5. Chelsea McClellan

    This was a powerful read. Wow! The decisions you make as our leaders is one of great weight. If you came to me with this list I would explode with confidence and determination to continue the path of passionate commitment to these young lives placed in my care. If you could not give me this list, I would want to know where I could grow, and then I would set out to do it. If I could not make the changes suggested, I would expect you to let me go as I have the power to bring life or take it away from countless young people who must spend 180 days/year with me. Your position is not one that I covet. I do, however, covet your genuine feedback so that I can be a difference maker…every single day.


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