Superintendent of Schools – June is an incredibly busy time in Human Resource departments in school divisions across Canada. In my past life I used to work in an HR department and was directly involved in staffing for all positions in a school jurisdiction. Now, I am involved to a much lesser extent with a focus on staffing for principals, assistant principals and senior leadership roles. No matter how much or little staffing I do, I enjoy the task.

I often describe the process of staffing to be like a giant jigsaw puzzle. The key is looking at the picture you are trying to build and then finding the right person to excel, while addressing that school’s/department’s specific need. The jigsaw analogy worked because each person’s skills, abilities and experiences are somewhat unique. No matter the person or role, we all add to what that school/department looks like. We are not all interchangeable and fit into any need or role. Each of our amazing RVS staff members bring unique skills, talents and experiences to their school/department.

Recently, I realized that maybe my analogy could use some adjustments. The puzzle analogy still resonates but may be too simplistic. Sometimes staffing is like a game of chess. You need to look multiple moves ahead. Earlier moves impact your ability to make future moves. There needs to be a strategy in the order you approach things. In the puzzle, that piece always fits beside its neighbours no matter what order you connect the pieces. In staffing you have an immediate need (e.g. a Grade 3 teacher for your school), but based on which great teacher you place in that role, it impacts the needs, culture and dynamics of a school. That Grade 3 teacher also has a passion for French and can help teach that in the school. Now the next move for the school is changed.

No matter which analogy works for you, the key is finding, supporting, nurturing, empowering and recognizing great staff to help your team. I can tell you that RVS is exceptional at doing that. A special shout out to all those people working hard these days trying to find the right person for the right move to the right position on the big board we call Rocky View.


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