The Student News Site of Harvard-Westlake School

The Harvard-Westlake Chronicle

The Student News Site of Harvard-Westlake School

The Harvard-Westlake Chronicle

The Student News Site of Harvard-Westlake School

The Harvard-Westlake Chronicle

    School uses standardized hiring process to fill 12 teaching positions

    By Chloe Lister


    Harvard-Westlake receives “hundreds of resumes” from potential teachers each year, Head of School Jeanne Huybrechts said.

    The school acquires these resumes in three main ways: A candidate will send his or her resume to Administrative Assistant Pat Nolte at the school, Huybrechts or another faculty member meets a good candidate at a job fair or someone already at the school recommends a person for the position, who the school then contacts, Huybrechts said.

    Huybrechts has attended three job fairs this year, one of which was held at Harvard-Westlake.

    The job fairs are mainly organized by agencies Cal West and Carney Sandoe, which have candidates that the agency has accepted and then tries to match with specific schools when they hear of an opening, English teacher Jill Turner, who was interviewed by President Thomas C. Hudnut at a job fair and was hired by the school through Carney Sandoe in 2006, said.

    After resumes have been received, they are filed by Nolte, and when a vacancy opens up, they are read by various staff members.

    “I look through them, the department chair looks through them, sometimes [Head of Upper School Harry] Salamandra looks through them, and then we pick the best and start making calls,” Huybrechts said.

    The department chair contacts the shortened list of candidates, and, if there are any applicants that the chair is sure he or she wants to meet, the chair sets up a full-day interview. The chair also calls candidates he or she is less sure of to arrange for a shorter interview to decide whether or not he or she wants to then invite him or her back for a full-day one.

    Usually, two or three people per position are invited for full-day interviews, Huybrechts said.

    Over the course of that day, the candidate meets with every member of the department they wish to join, Huybrechts, a dean, Salamandra and Hudnut, if he is available.

    Mathematics department chair Paula Evans has been department chair for the past nine years and has helped hire seven members of the math department during that time.

    “In the math department, we work as a team, so when we hire someone we need to know that person is comfortable working as a team,” Evans said. “When we bring someone in, we want to know that they’re working authentically with us, as a peer, and being open to new ideas and willing to work with students outside of the classroom.”

    “Anyone coming in here who is going to be here for any substantial amount of time is going to be able to work with everybody,” Palmer said. “They already had an idea of who I was and where I was coming from, so it was more of a matter of gauging my personality.”

    “I got to talk about myself, and who doesn’t love talking about themselves?” Palmer said.

    The Middle School follows the same process in hiring teachers.

    After the full-day interview, all the interviewers’ impressions are emailed to the head of the campus, and the head of campus, department head and director of studies decide whether or not to recommend to Huybrechts that the candidate should be hired.

    This year, 12 teacher positions were open, which is relatively low.

    Although there were only six last year, for many years the school hired 20 new staff members each year, Huybrechts said.

    Huybrechts said that if there is an alum applying for a position, “it is taken into consideration, but it counts for less than you might think.

    “I think it’s wonderful that there are alums working at the school,” she said. “However, they have to be just as qualified for the job as any other candidate. They have to really be the best person for the job.”

    History teacher Francine Werner ’68 was first hired by Westlake School for Girls in 1973 and said that the headmaster had been very reluctant to give the position to an alumna.

    “What he made me do, that no other candidate had to do, is student teach,” Werner said.

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    School uses standardized hiring process to fill 12 teaching positions