SoCal administrators share hiring tips with more than 100 teacher candidates
More than 100 teacher candidates from the School of Education’s Master of Arts in Teaching + Credential Program and CalTeach Program convened with K12 administrators for a virtual discussion regarding employment guidelines and opportunities for new teachers.
The online meeting, held on April 4, 2020, was facilitated by Dr. Acacia Warren, Single Subject Coordinator for UCI’s MAT+Credential Program, and Kris Houston, CalTeach Program Coordinator and Co-director of the Irvine Math Project.
“The administrator panel is associated with our annual UCI School of Education Employment Fair for teacher candidates, and gives candidates an opportunity to explore the hiring process in greater depth,” Warren said. “Candidates interact with people who actually do the hiring - administrators. Due to COVID-19, we decided to move the panel to an online platform, and the results were amazing - more than 100 teacher candidates and seven administrators organized on one platform to serve a very important purpose. We couldn’t have asked for a better outcome.”
During the event, administrators responded to a series of questions about district- and school-level hiring procedures. They gave suggestions for how candidates could best present themselves during the hiring interview. Following the panel, administrators engaged in a Q&A through the “chat” feature with the teacher candidates.
“It was a great experience,” said Dr. Ryan Weiss-Wright, principal of McAuliffe Middle School in Los Alamitos. “Being able to connect with more than 100 teacher candidates and support them as they enter the profession is a privilege, and I am happy to partner with my fellow educators to advise and support the next generation of classroom teachers!”
“This was a wonderful opportunity to connect with our future teachers,” said Dr. Amy Avina, principal of Los Amigos High School in Garden Grove. “It’s evident that UCI takes excellent care of their teaching candidates.”
“It is an honor to have participated in the administrative panel where we shared our knowledge and experience, and provided guidance, support, and inspiration to our future teachers,” said Dr. Hector Galicia, principal of Valley High School in Santa Ana.
“In these uncertain times, it was inspiring to see the quality of candidates that are going to dedicate their talents and passion to our future generation of students,” said Lou Mardesich, administrator, San Pedro Community of Schools for Local District South of the Los Angeles Unified School District.
Panel topics included: what qualities a district or school might look for in a new teacher, the importance of demo lessons and portfolios, issues to consider when both applying and making a final decision, and more.
Among the panel participants were a pair of UCI School of Education alumnae.
“It was exciting to be able to connect and provide information for future educators as well as hear what my colleagues had to say,” said Dr. Susie Kemp (Ed.D. ’06), director of human resources for the Irvine Unified School District. Dr. Kemp also received her Administrative Services Credential and Multiple Subject Teaching Credential from UCI.
Expressing similar sentiments, Dr. Darnise Williams (B.A. ’93), senior director, Office of the Superintendent for the Los Angeles Unified School District said, “Teachers are truly extraordinary souls. In almost every industry there lives a story about an awesome teacher who has gone above and beyond to teach, motivate and support generations of learners. As an alumna, I am inspired by the candidates’ desire to impact the world as educators. Because of them, I look forward to a brighter tomorrow for our students.”
The MAT + Credential program is a 14-month program that allows students to earn a master’s degree and teaching credential simultaneously. Students are able to pursue a credential in either a single or multiple subject discipline.
"I am thankful to have the opportunity to glean from several decorated administrators,” said Aryn MacKenzie, Social Science MAT Candidate. “Starting a career is an exciting and anxious time. The application process and interviews are daunting especially as a candidate entering an impacted field. To have the ability to ask questions and gain insight from several principals and district administrators is a tremendous asset. More so, it eases the transition and empowers us. It is a part of what makes this a strong program."
UCI CalTeach allows an undergraduate to earn a bachelor's degree in math and science, or Mathematics, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, and Earth and Environmental Science plus a California teaching credential in four years.
“My biggest takeaway from the panel was to become informed about the district and schools, and to make personal connections to the school's culture, mission, values, and vision,” said Lind He, a Mathematics major who will complete her degree and credential requirements in June. “I appreciated the advice to be kind and considerate to everyone and anyone you interact with during the interview.”
“Feedback from CalTeach candidates on the event has been overwhelmingly positive,” Houston said. “The candidates appreciated each panelist’s perspective, and for devoting time on a Friday evening to share their wisdom. The candidates had their individual questions answered at the end of the session, and many of the candidates have already reached out to schools and principals!”
Panel members included:
For more information, see the presentation slides from the event.