In August of 2020 The Arizona Republic asked the Maricopa County School Superintendent candidates a series of questions.
What will you do over the next four years to attract and retain great teachers?
I launched the Teacher Retention Project in the Fall of 2018. I surveyed thousands of Maricopa County teachers to determine what parts of the profession gave them joy and what parts caused the most frustration. The data closely matched National reports on teacher satisfaction. The top three factors that drive Maricopa County teachers from the profession are salary, class sizes, and pressure from increased workloads. My next step was to deliver this information to school administrators and provide them with tools to address teacher retention. I launched the Interrelationship Digraph process at the annual Arizona School Administrators conference. The process helps administrators determine the drivers that will most impact teacher retention. It helps analyze the links between each factor and identify which factor drives the others. From there, my office worked with schools and districts committed to making changes to improve teacher satisfaction and increase retention. This work is continuing. A new set of surveys are going out to Maricopa County teachers. The data and follow-up support will be given to administrators to continue improving job satisfaction. By increasing teacher retention, we ensure that more Maricopa County students have access to the best teachers. In my job I have encountered many exceptional new colleagues among my fellow teachers. So, I created a Superintendent Teacher Advisory Team (STAT). I meet regularly with this diverse group of teachers to discuss and unpack the joys and challenges of teaching. Then we connect with education decision makers across the county. It is important that teachers have a voice in making decisions that affect their work.