The Recruitment and Retention of Teachers of Color in NAIS Independent Schools
Munhofen, Nicholas Blair, III
Vardi, Lisa Burchfield
Within the past year, the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) updated its mission, vision, and values to better reflect the trends impacting its more than 1,700 members. An increased emphasis on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) undergirds language around what matters most in these institutions. Demographic changes, which, in turn, impact enrollment projections at independent schools, are forcing NAIS member institutions to consider how they can create environments where every community member is welcomed and can thrive. Given the increase of students of color in the US, as well as those attending independent schools, attention has been focused on how to not only attract those students to independent schools but also how to augment support for those students upon their enrollment. That students–both students of color and white students–benefit from classrooms led by a diverse faculty is well-founded, and, as such, independent schools are increasingly attentive to how they might hire and retain more teachers of color to meet the needs of students and their families. In providing a diverse, supportive environment where all families feel welcome and supported, independent schools themselves may thrive. This study examines the school characteristics that impact the recruitment and retention of teachers of color. We seek to clarify how leadership practices, organizational culture and social networks impact the recruitment and retention of teachers of color in independent schools. Importantly, we identify effective strategies within leadership practices, organizational culture, and social networks that are effective in increasing the proportion of teachers of color within the independent school context. Though this topic is top of mind for many independent school leaders, formal and rigorous research investigating how leadership practices, organizational culture, and social networks influence the recruitment and retention of teachers of color is limited, with the most recent comprehensive study having been completed nearly two decades prior to this one. This study seeks to address the gaps in research and practice through a mixed-methods project design that combines quantitative and qualitative approaches to data collection and analysis.