Fewer than 8% of the people who submit an application to RePublic each year are extended an offer to join our team. We obsess over building and cultivating teams of A-Players, because we believe that dynamic individuals and high-functioning teams are the levers that change the trajectory of kids’ lives, and we believe that our staff deserve to work among the most talented educators in the nation.
When we make a decision to bring a new teammate into the RePublic family, we do not just hire them to fill a role. We bring them in to find a home — in our schools, in our organization, and in the broader movement for educational equity in the South. That looks different for different people. For many staff members, that means staying in the classroom, and becoming the type of teacher that pushes our very conceptualization of instruction. For others, that may mean pursuing a different pathway over the years — in instructional, cultural, operational, network, or special education leadership.
We invest a lot of time in making sure that our staff are in the right roles — the ones in which they will make the biggest impact for our scholars. Once there, we work hard to ensure that we are helping them to find opportunities to develop the skills they need to take on additional leadership responsibilities — inside or outside of the classroom — over time.
In November, we hosted RePublic Pathway nights in Nashville and Jackson — networking events designed specifically to give our existing staff members a chance to explore different roles and leadership pathways within our organization. Folks from around RePublic — master teachers, operations leaders, culture gurus, instructional coaches, curriculum writers, talent recruiters, and special educators — came together to speak about what they do, why they do it, and the path they took to get there. Our teammates had an opportunity to ask questions and interact in small groups to get curious about the pathway(s) they hope to pursue over time.
Above, Reimagine Prep Principal Christina McDonald speaks to RePublic staff in Jackson - before traveling to Tennessee to speak to teammates in Nashville - about her six-year pathway from a role as a founding teacher at Nashville Prep in 2011 to her current position as a founding principal of the first charter school in Mississippi history. Her call to action was clear: “If you want to build something new, and you want to do work that has never been done before, and you have a fire in your heart about proving everybody in this country wrong about what kids in the lowest-performing state in the nation are capable of – then come teach and lead in Jackson.”
- Teammates in Mississippi swap stories about a “day in the life” in different positions they hold within schools;
- Roger Reed, Associate Dean of Students at Reimagine Prep, meets Jon Rybka, RePublic’s incoming CEO;
- Staff members interested in work in school-based Operations meet with Abigail Rockey, Director of Network Operations, and Amber Green, who has served as Liberty’s Director of Operations since 2013;
- Director of Students Supports (Special Education) Courtney Vickers speaks about the import of serving scholars with the greatest need; and
- Director of Schools Annie Robison, LCA Principal Macy Bennett and NACS Assistant Principal Hannah Sacco share more with staff about what it really means to work in instructional leadership.
Eno Sekyere, who taught for five years before joining RePublic’s team as a game-changing literacy teacher, shared an especially timely message. "When I think about our kids and the struggles they have, and I think about how well we're closing gaps and preparing them for the future, I can't see myself doing any other work. As a teacher, we get to be leaders. We're solutions oriented. We see something that's not working, so we come up with a plan to make it better. When we look at all the disparities in our nation, we get to build up our kids and say 'Hey, that's why we're here. That's why you're here. You can have whatever future you want.’”
At the end of each panel, panelists delivered an “elevator pitch” - a short plug to inspire staff members to consider pursuing the pathway they represented. Below, Jackson teacher-leader Tresandria Hubbard inspired and challenged staff members to seek instructional excellence.
For Alex Ball, who has served as a leader in school culture with RePublic for the past six years, RePublic's mission hits close to home. “To me, this work in this part of the country is personal. My family grew up in Mississippi. Our ancestors were slaves - and not so long ago. I taught in the Mississippi Delta before moving to do this work in Nashville. These kids are me, and I am them. We share a story.”
To close the evening, RePublic Chief of Staff Liz Friedland gave teammates advice: “Whatever your role is – become great. When we look for talent, we don’t care that someone has struggled – in fact, we prefer it. What we care about is that someone did something hard – really hard – persevered, and emerged successful with the results to prove it. If you are not yet feeling successful in your role – stay in it, and become great. If you are doing well in your role – stay in it, and become the best. But whatever it is you want to do over time, start learning, asking questions, and making your interest known."