Director of Employee Services Tabatha Gundrum updated the Board of Education at its regular meeting on Monday, Feb. 26 on the District's efforts to recruit a more diverse staff.
"We've talked about recruiting a more diverse staff for years,'' she said. "We know the demographics of our staff don't match the demographics of our students.''
She reported that 30 percent of the more than 7,000 students in the District are non-white, while 8 percent of staff are non-white. She said 5 percent of teachers are non-white.
She shared that the District partnered with Madison Metropolitan and Verona Area school districts about a decade ago to try and recruit staff of color but that none of the districts saw much change after a couple of years. She said all three districts struggled to get educators from the south to move north.
She reported the District works with United Way, Urban League of Madison and other area organizations and attends 4-6 employment meetings a year. Those efforts have resulted in a number of people who have become staff members, including two new bus drivers. She noted a concern is making sure all positions offer a living wage, which she isn't sure is the case yet.
Gundrum has been attending more recruitment fairs, including ones in Chicago and Minneapolis. She and Director of Bilingual Services Mandi Sersch also attend a bilingual recruitment fair annually. Gundrum is also working with the leadership team to change the process so that "amazing candidates" can be offered a position at the recruitment fairs right away before another district offers one to them.
Superintendent George Mavroulis and Gundrum are most excited about the District's Grow Your Own Program, which was implemented a few years ago to diversify the staff and have current staff members get additional degrees to work in hard-to-fill positions. The District has partnerships with UW-Madison and Edgewood College and is hoping to expand the program.