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Are You Overqualified?

Pretend that you are a new principal at a new school that is set to open this fall. You have everything that you need to get going, except staff. You have to hire your entire team from scratch!

Fast forward to the results of your recruitment process. You have 500 applicants for all sorts of positions open at your school—applicants for administrative assistants, monitors, teachers, an assistant principal, I mean everything.

Thirty-five former school superintendents, who also possess a Ph.D. in education, have applied to be classroom teachers in your K-12 school, but you invite none of them to an interview. You perceive them to be “overqualified” and wonder why so many superintendents have applied to your school.

Maybe they were terrible superintendents? Maybe they were fired? Maybe they relocated and are simply looking for a job? Maybe they didn’t like being a superintendent? Or . . . Maybe they just want to teach?

There are all sorts of possibilities regarding why each of them applied to your school, but they all have a story to tell. Certainly, one’s title or position and rank of education don’t necessarily equate to hiring the best teacher for your students, but what if, just what if, you contacted all 35 of them to hear their stories and all of them were incredible educators and leaders? What if YOU filled your classrooms with teachers who were former superintendents with doctoral degrees? What if they all loved teaching and wanted to return to their roots: teaching children? Would you give them a chance? Would you surround yourself with those who have more experience on their resumes? Would you feel threatened that they might know more than you about leading a school even though we are all learning together each and every single day?

We all have a story to tell and what if the notion of “overqualified” never set sail from your spoken words ever again? Maybe there is no such thing as “overqualified” anyway? Is it fact or fiction?

What if your spouse or significant other asked you to vacuum the living room and you told him or her that you couldn’t because you were overqualified? What if you pulled up to the gas pump and waited for someone else to pump gas because you were “overqualified”?

Maybe, no one is overqualified for anything.

Teaching. Cleaning toilets. Leading an army. Vacuuming. Pumping gas. We learn to do everything and grow our arsenal of knowledge and best practices for everything. We all can pursue happiness in education even if it means taking a lower salary to do what we love. Maybe it just means cutting back on our expenses. Superintendents as teachers. Teachers as administrative assistants. Will you listen to your applicants’ stories?

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