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Chris Torres on the research-based principles school leaders can employ to hire and retain good teachers 

August 30, 2023

Torres shares steps to mitigate school staffing shortages with The Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD).


In an article for The Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD), Chris Torres states that staffing shortages and turnover are a huge concern facing school leaders across the country. The Educator Workforce Project, a research project that Torres co-leads, surveyed and interviewed superintendents, district HR directors, and principals across Michigan in 2022-2023 about educator shortages and hiring challenges. They found significant concerns over staffing shortages and turnover which will be detailed in a forthcoming October 2023 report. 

In the ASCD article, Torres was asked to focus on how school leaders could improve teacher retention during a time of shortages. Although problems such as low teacher compensation and lack of resources contribute to staffing shortages, Torres writes that education leaders can't wait for policy intervention to improve and stabilize their schools. He argues that improving retention at the school level can reduce hiring needs and the impact of shortages. He also highlights how school leaders have a strong influence on staff retention and writes: “Some refer to chronic teacher turnover as the "leaky bucket" problem: You need to continually pour in new people to keep it full.” 

In his article, Torres offers four research-based principles that point to key practices for hiring, supporting, and retaining teachers:

1. Have a Strong Vision—and Hire Teachers Who Align with It
2. Make School a Hub for Teacher Learning
3. Nurture Relational Trust and Community
4. Foster Teacher Professionalism

Featured in this Article

Associate Professor, Marsal Family School of Education