It was a fight to the finish, but Erskine Glover can honestly say he’s happy with the team of teachers who will be instructing his students this fall.
Glover, principal of what’s momentarily known as Quitman Street Renew School, had a grueling summer interviewing more than 100 candidates for instructional positions, with dozens more weeded out by a recruiter. Fewer than half of the 60 teachers greeting children when they arrive back today were on staff when classes let out in June.
Because Quitman is part of a showcase initiative to turn around Newark’s lowest-performing schools, Superintendent Cami Anderson handed Glover the unprecedented authority to hand pick who stands before his 530 pre-k through eighth grade pupils this year. And that meant a lot of changes.
Research is clear that having a great teacher affects how a student performs, even years afterward. Glover went from one interview to the next fueled by his students’ dire need for great teaching.
In picking his staff, he looked for passion, drive, and the capacity to pore over data and effectively use technology to drive instruction. He wanted teachers who could create an engaging classroom culture. He demanded an unequivocal belief that the children Quitman serves—more than 90 percent of them black and living in poverty—can and will rise to great achievements, not just locally but on a global scale.