Throughout Women’s History Month this year, BSD highlighted women in education – including women in leadership, nationally and within the district. BSD’s Director of Employee Relations, Simone Neal, sits down with Dr. Jarvis to discuss district hiring practices, acquisition and retention of a diverse workforce, women in leadership, and the importance of ensuring that the workforce is reflective of the students we serve.

Other topics can be navigated using these timestamps:

  • 02:12 – Introductions and background
  • 03:30 – Problem-solving in HR, seeking diverse talent
  • 04:37 – What BSD looks for when hiring
  • 06:17 – Importance of diversity in recruiting
  • 08:15 – Recruiting and retaining diverse populations in BSD
  • 10:37 – Women in education and leadership
  • 13:15 – Current needs to retain and hire workers
  • 16:22 – Partnering with local universities to attract young professionals in education
  • 19:07 – Professionals switching to the field of education

Providing Access and Opportunities to Staff and Students

One key quality that BSD’s human resources team looks for in candidates is a passion for supporting students. Throughout the recruiting and application process, regardless of organizational role, ensuring that candidates understand the “why” behind their work is essential. This quality is often a motivating force for those who seek employment at the district. This underlying desire to make a difference in the lives of students helps create an environment that provides each and every student with an exceptional learning opportunity that they can carry with them forever.

“I know that when I come to work that I’m going to impact lives every single day, and there aren’t many jobs that do that.” -Simone Neal

Hiring and Retaining Diverse Educators

There are many identities that comprise BSD, and it is important that the workforce represents those in our learning community. By actively recruiting, hiring and retaining staff who represent different cultures, characteristics, lived experiences and perspectives, the district is better able to serve students ― within and outside of those groups.

In Simone’s words,

“I’ve always been passionate about retaining and hiring educators and also giving access to people like myself… I was an immigrant, and I’m the product of an immigrant family ― and education was the way that we had access to opportunities. So, my passion lies in giving access to people like myself and students like myself, and [providing] opportunities so that they can live a quality life in our country.”

Supporting Women in Education

Throughout history, women have played an integral role in education, often serving in teacher and support staff roles. However, when it comes to leadership positions such as principals and superintendents, female representation has been less common. Simone shares that to increase the amount of women in leadership roles, it is important to make connections with those emerging leaders, listen, and be responsive to their needs. In doing so, education systems can gain unique perspectives and highlight opportunities for the women who will seek out these roles in the future.

“Seeing people like Michelle Obama, seeing women that are in superintendent roles, it is a motivator for me to continue because I know it’s possible. And seeing especially leaders of color in those roles, it motivates me to continue getting my education, continue moving up in the educational realm when I see representation.” – Simone Neal

The Bellevue School District acknowledges that we learn, work, live and gather on the Indigenous Land of the Coast Salish peoples, specifically the Duwamish and Snoqualmie Tribes. We thank these caretakers of this land, who have lived and continue to live here, since time immemorial.