If independent schools can agree on one thing, it is that a school’s faculty and staff are indispensable in the quality delivery of the mission. Consequently, at the vast majority of schools, compensation is the largest expense. And yet most schools follow a traditional model of faculty compensation wherein the teachers with the longest tenures and most degrees attained are paid the most, regardless of classroom success. Without clear alternatives or guidance in implementing new systems, it is difficult for schools to change their traditional practices and continue to offer competitive compensation for high quality faculty.
I’m pleased to announce NBOA is undertaking a new initiative to provide schools with the aforementioned clarity and assistance, thanks to a generous Special Grant from the Edward E. Ford Foundation. The E.E. Ford Foundation seeks to improve secondary education by supporting U.S. independent schools and encouraging promising practices, and occasionally awards Special Grants in support of projects that have the potential to influence secondary education more broadly and positively affect our democratic society.
The E.E. Ford Grant will support NBOA’s customized research across the country that will identify diverse and successful compensation models. These models will then be presented in a succinct guide that outlines distinct types and factors that make different models work.
The E.E. Ford Grant will support NBOA’s customized research across the country that will identify diverse and successful compensation models. These models will then be presented in a succinct guide that outlines distinct types and factors that make different models work. NBOA will also develop an online resource repository to help school leaders adopt the compensation model that best enables their school to hire and retain the strongest faculty who will best serve their students and support their mission. Securing the highest quality faculty is crucial to the long-term vitality of independent schools sector-wide, especially during a time of shifting labor demands and educational markets. The 18-month research effort will begin immediately, with the findings and related tools scheduled to be released in fall 2023.
NBOA staff will conduct the research as well as develop and distribute the findings, implementation guide and resource repository. Patrick Schuermann, Ed.D., will join the NBOA project team as lead consultant for the project. Schuermann is the founding director of the national Center for Educator Compensation Reform and his dissertation research at Vanderbilt University focused on innovative compensation models in independent schools across the United States.
This work should help schools not only in the immediate future but also beyond. For independent schools to secure their long-term financial health, it is imperative to identify a faculty and staff compensation model that fairly and equitably compensates high-quality staff, while at the same time, manage the compensation and benefits line item within their annual operating budgets. NBOA is well-positioned to tackle this challenge given its strong relationship with business officers and human resource professionals. The staff team assembled for this project at NBOA, in partnership with Patrick Schuermann, and with the support of E.E. Ford, is prepared to provide valuable thought leadership and practical guidance for independent schools.
I look forward to sharing the research findings and implementation resources in due time, and also to observing the more widespread innovation in faculty and staff compensation that I hope will take place with increased clarity and support from NBOA.
Follow NBOA President and CEO Jeff Shields @shieldsNBOA.