Step 2: District Spotlight
Collect and use data to examine school district recruitment, interview, and hiring practices.
Lorna Lewis, superintendent of the Plainview-Old Bethpage Schools, has a novel strategy for ensuring that candidates of color are highlighted when the district hires a new administrator: she reviews every resume herself in order to counter bias.
“I just went through 500 resumes because we have an assistant principal opening,” Lewis said. “It’s important that I do that because there are clues on a resume that someone is a minority. I’ll flag a resume and say, ‘Must be interviewed’ in order to add diversity to the pool. I feel that it is my duty to have them get the experience.”
Lewis said that when she doesn’t hire a candidate of color, she often reaches out and sets up an appointment to offer coaching for the next time she or he interviews.
When Lewis, a Black superintendent in a district where 71% of students are White, doesn’t see enough diversity in a candidate pool, she reaches out to her extensive network, which includes the Long Island Black Educators Association, as well as local chapters of Black professional fraternities and sororities. Lewis also has extensive contacts across the state through her position as president of the New York State Council of School Superintendents.
Lewis said she conducts the final interview for all candidates, and these efforts have gradually created an environment that attracts candidates of color and that benefits her students.
“The minority teachers that I’ve brought on board, they’ve said that they came here because they knew that I was here, and they knew that they would be supported,” she said. “I feel that I have to prepare my students to live in a diverse world, and I want them exposed to a diverse staff.”
The minority teachers that I’ve brought on board, they’ve said that they came here because they knew that I was here, and they knew that they would be supported.