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Two-day, two-way interviews highlight student-teacher fair

Many student-teachers took a short break from teaching recently, to do the one thing they deem more important professionally: interview for a teaching position in Lincoln Public Schools.

Kay Byers and Nikki Regan from the LPS human resources department - the two who initiated this interview fair last spring - compliment sharp attire and punctuality.

“That’s smart. Principals look at that.”

“Nervous?” Byers asks.

“No,”  one candidate says. “I’m excited for this.”

The student-teacher interview fair gives interested student-teachers a one-on-one 45-minute interview with a principal or director. These principals may not have the exact opening the student-teachers are looking for - not all are known at this point. So the interview is more of a district-wide approach.

“Multiple eyes and ears on the candidates for the district to get that feedback,” said Kathleen Dering, Elliott Elementary principal. “There's a common set of characteristics for all applicants that we want. We want them to be focused on growth, have that confidence factor. Those are things we need in all teachers K-12.”

Byers makes a few quick reminders to prepare the interviewees for what to expect. Inside the boardroom, 12 tables are arranged, two chairs for each. Interviewers await.

“I think overall it brings energy and excitement into this time of year with new hires, new possibilities,” said Rik Devney, principal at Huntington Elementary. “I look forward to connecting with the new generation of young teachers, and being part of their interview journeys through LPS.”

Candidates could later interview with the exact principal or at a school that has an opening that fits their desires.

Devney also said he enjoys helping young teachers find their spot within LPS.

There are three series of interviews and questions for teachers: an online Gallup survey, an interview by LPS Human Resources, and a school building-level interview for the finalists. This interview fair takes the place of the HR interview, which is known as the FITT interview (Further Insight into Teacher Talent).

Liz Standish, associate superintendent for business affairs,  and Eric Weber, associate superintendent for HR, have played a key role in launching this effort, Byers said. It can be a challenge to develop preliminary budgets for next years total number of teachers early enough to conduct interviews; but with early budget projections, LPS is able to interview and hire earlier than in years prior.

Area job fairs for schools often come in the middle or toward the end of the typical hiring season, and schools in and around Lincoln are hiring from the same talent pool.

“We are out there looking for the strongest and the best choice, and when we can, we like to hire as early as possible,” Byers said.


Published: February 24, 2017, Updated: February 24, 2017

There's a common set of characteristics for all applicants that we want. We want them to be focused on growth, have that confidence factor. Those are things we need in all teachers K-12.

Kathleen Dering, Elliott Elementary School principal