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Last week RIVS joined K12 professionals from around the country at the two-day AASPA Boot Camp in Minneapolis, MN to discuss a wide variety of HR topics. The two day boot camp included numerous breakout sessions where thought leaders in the HR realm discussed pressing recruitment topics including, HR legislation, hiring and recruiting best practices, employee evaluations, mentoring and more.  Vendors, including RIVS Digital Interviews, showcased recruitment solutions to district attendees looking for tactful and innovative methods to improve their hiring processes. Whether you attended the conference or weren’t able to make it, we wanted to keep you in the loop with our key takeaways:

AASPA Boot Camp: Recruiting and Retaining

Given the disparity of talent among the educational talent pool among states, strategies for recruiting and retaining good employees for districts was a primary topic in many of the AASPA Boot Camp breakout sessions. Recruiting educational professionals is understandably a big focus, but districts often overlook how to retain their best talent once they’re hired. According to a recent study, turnover costs among school districts in the U.S. is around $2.2 billion annually. Beyond the financial implications, educator turnover impacts learning opportunities for students, particularly those in urban and rural areas who have the highest rate of turnover.

Tracy Najera, Senior Director of Human Capital at Battelle for Kids, lays out a 7 step process to create a balanced recruitment and retention strategy that can be employed in all district types. The most important parts of the process is the first and second step which includes gathering and examining data and then auditing your district practices. These steps challenge district leaders to thoroughly tap into their district hiring strategies and figure out what is and isn’t working in order to make quantifiable and meaningful changes. Proper research in looking at why educators are leaving your district, how your district compares with neighboring districts, and who is the typical candidate applying for openings in your district lays the foundation for putting together a sustainable recruitment and retention strategy.

Standing Out To Candidates

Many districts worry that their traditional HR practices are proving to be less effective than they once were in attracting and retaining top education candidates. The solution? Transparency. At the AASPA Boot Camp, Dr. Addie Swinney, retired Chief Human Resources Officer from Horry County Schools and Jason Hammond, Director of Human Resources at Phoenix Elementary School District #1 discussed the importance of a transparent job description and a transparent pay policy. Although it may be tempting to leave out responsibilities or salary details that may not appear ideal, transparent job descriptions and pay policies are crucial in attracting and retaining the right candidate for the position. With full disclosure of their role, responsibilities and pay, a candidate is less likely to leave since they know what they were committing to.

On the flip side, candidate transparency  is equally as important in the recruitment process as organization/role transparency in recruiting and retaining top talent. Digital interviewing platforms help recruiters gain crucial insights about a candidate through video, voice and written interviews. Recruiters utilize digital interviews to uncover key candidate attributes such as their communication  skills, as well as their personality traits to better vet quality candidates and push them through the hiring process faster. If you weren’t able to connect with Lindsay Finlay at the AASPA Boot Camp on how digital interviews can leverage your recruitment process, please feel free to reach out to her here.


In conclusion, the AASPA Boot Camp was a huge success as district leaders and education specialists from all over the country networked and shared best practices. The magnitude of the responsibility to hire educators is universal across all districts and it’s important to share resources with one another in hiring talent. As Lynnette Michalski, Superintendent of Gila Bend Unified School District, said in her presentation, “the quality of our organization and our work relies heavily upon the quality of people within it.”  We look forward to seeing you at AASPA’s national conference in Baltimore this October!

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