It may seem obvious, but it bears stating that the most important factor in a school’s quality is its staff, especially its faculty and leaders. It also bears mentioning that of the approximately 900 Jewish Day Schools in the U.S., almost every single one hires someone new to its staff each year, ranging from support personnel to school leaders. Schools hire for different reasons including student body growth, natural attrition of staff (e.g., retirement, relocation, new job), and quality improvements (e.g., replacing underperforming staff or adding programs).
Despite the large number of jobs available each year, it is more difficult now than it has been in recent memory to get a job in a Jewish Day School, especially for teachers. More young people are seeking jobs in the field, and schools are able to be more selective with their candidates.
It may have been true as recently as 10 years ago that a great personality and some experience working with children in a youth group were enough to secure a position. That is no longer the case. Schools should, and do, demand that their new hires have credentials and experience in a classroom setting. They want to know that their teachers understand the language of education in areas such as curriculum design, differentiation and technology integration. They expect that their new hires have been in the classroom before and have the tools to reflect on their practice so they can grow. Being a job seeker in that climate can be overwhelming.
The climate is also daunting for schools. With so many qualified candidates banging down their doors, schools must “up their game.” In the past, knowing the right people and word of mouth might have been enough to find a great teacher. Although both still play a role in hiring, utilizing a sophisticated talent-identification and hiring process is vital for schools that want to attract and hire educators who are the best fit.
The good news is that there are services in place to help both job seekers and schools in meaningful ways. The YU School Partnership offers a wide and deep array of placement services to support Jewish schools and job seekers. The use of online job boards is now de rigueur for both schools and job seekers. The YUSP is proud to run the country’s largest job board exclusively for careers in the field of Jewish Education (JEDJobs.com).
In addition to JEDJobs.com, the YUSP offers schools white-glove placement service. The YUSP works with schools to help them strategically project placement needs and design and refine their hiring processes. The process continues as the YUSP matches schools with potential candidates in both Jewish and General Studies from an ever-growing pipeline.
White-glove placement service is offered to job seekers as well. Job seekers in both Jewish and General Studies can get help with their resumes and interview skills and be added to a personalized pipeline from which the YUSP suggests candidates to schools looking for new faculty. If you or someone you know is looking for a job in a Jewish school, or you just want to know what’s out there, you should create a free profile on JEDJobs.com and reach out to the YUSP.
Hiring season is when our schools identify the staff members who will be interacting with our children. The efforts described above aimed at advancing talent identification and recruitment processes and the offering of resources and support to job seekers and schools are part of the larger labor of providing our children the best Jewish education possible.
Rabbi Maccabee Avishur is the Associate Director for Teaching and Learning at Yeshiva University’s Institute for University-School Partnership. He can be reached at avishur_yu.edu.\
By Rabbi Maccabee Avishur