On February 27, 2013, I am a motivational keynote speaker for the Pennsylvania Association of School Personnel Administrators Conference.
The theme of this great event is You Can't Make this Stuff Up! because this unique audience faces a lot of pressure day to day including student issues, teacher retention, budgets, challenges with parents and more.
Over 200 HR directors for school districts and their intermediate units will attend, as well as some principals and school superintendents.
Schools are always under scrutiny because they rely on tax payer dollars; as a result, so much happens in HR directors' days that they have no control over. School administrators often find themselves stretched and juggling multiple priorities to accomplish their goals. Also part of their duties, school administrators are called to negotiate between districts and school boards, hire teachers and administrators, bus drivers, support staff and more. They must also deal with Workers Compensation and the evaluation of employees.
I interviewed a cross section of audience members to prepare to be a motivational keynote speaker for the school administrators' luncheon. An additional challenge or issue these HR professionals face include teachers who don't like change. Changes to contracts must go through the union or association and this can really slow things down and create significant paperwork. School administrators sometimes have to issue a last chance agreement whereby it is the last chance an employee has to improve or they can be let go.
As the saying goes, the truth never stops a good story; the American Disibilities Act allows employees to file grievances about working conditions (and time has shown that many try to elaborate beyond reality). For instance, one support staff really wanted the night shift so she suggested she cannot work during the day because she is allergic to sunlight!
School administrators report to the superintendent; however, beyond that, they are responsible to the school board which is composed of 9 elected officials that may change every 4 years. You could say these administrators have 10 different bosses!
Added to this juggling act, every year or so the state requires school administrators to file with the Pennsylvania Information Management Systems or PIMS. The information collected will include a report on every teacher, school curriculum and what is being taught daily.The PDE or the Pennsylvania Department of Education may decide to send out notifications of changes to come but haven't quite figured out how they will implement it, so administrators are constantly left to scramble as priorities evolve. Talk about the need to be flexible!
My motivational speech for the school administrators is The Nerve to Serve... Say Hello to Humor & Goodbye to Burnout!