Are You Ready for A Diverse Candidate Pool?

Mary Seppala | October 06, 2023

In our work as search consultants, schools frequently ask us to provide statistics on our track record of recruiting candidates who represent diversity, and by diversity they mean people of color. But when it comes to finding and hiring diverse leadership, the school’s desire is not the only thing that matters. A school may see a diverse candidate pool as an option that will be readily available to them, but not all schools have the foundational culture necessary to support the diversity they are hoping for in a leader. Keep in mind that, yes, schools get to choose candidates but, first, candidates must choose the school.

Candidates representing racial diversity are more inclined to apply for positions at schools where there is evidence of programs and practices that demonstrate a commitment to racial and social justice and equity, and evidence that this commitment is part of the DNA of the school community. What this can look like in schools is that concrete Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) goals have been articulated, clear and documented steps have been taken over an extended period of time to realize these goals, and the goals are known and supported by the immediate and broader school community. Other evidence of a school’s commitment to DEI can be seen in hiring decisions, financial aid distribution, expectations of faculty, curriculum design, instructional practice, professional learning, and other institutional practices.

Objective appraisal of a school’s values, culture, and practices can unearth reasons for potential candidates to become interested or uninterested in a leadership opportunity. Before creating a leadership profile, which addresses the qualifications and personal attributes desired in the next leader, we get to know a school and community deeply. We learn where the school and community sit on a continuum of improvement in all areas of DEI and help them understand their readiness for new leadership. We ask questions like, “What does belonging mean and look like in your community?” and, “What intentional efforts have gone into making certain that all feel included, always?” In assessing a school’s progress along the path to creating a truly diverse, equitable, and inclusive environment, we give honest feedback about where the school is on that journey. We assist in clarifying the expectations a school has of its next leader. Supporting schools in this self-examination process and fine-tuning a leadership profile results in an extensive understanding that is essential for us to be able to represent the school well to potential candidates.

Successfully making the match requires providing highly personalized service to our client schools. Every partner at Educators Collaborative is prepared to assist schools in choosing the best leader for their community. Our goal is to recruit and attract candidates who, with a clear understanding of the school’s culture, will embrace the challenges of their new school and where, in return, they will be embraced, welcomed, supported and, therefore, successful.

Interested in learning more about how we can help?