5 must-have tools to hire and develop effective teachers

David Schuler, superintendent of High School District 214, shares five must-have tools to hire and develop effective teachers

tech-tools-teachers-hireI have had the privilege of working in public school administration for a number of years as a former teacher, coach, and currently as a superintendent.

I also serve as past president of the Suburban School Superintendents Association and as president-elect of the American Association of School Administrators, where I am honored and privileged to serve superintendent colleagues across the country and Canada.

A common goal among educational leaders is to increase student achievement. A critical piece of attaining that goal is to recruit, retain, and cultivate an excellent teaching staff. The tools described here are uniquely designed to find, hire, and develop effective teachers—giving students the best opportunity to learn and succeed in this ever-changing global economy.

TeacherMatch Educators Professional Inventory (EPI)

It can be challenging to identify teacher candidates who will positively impact student achievement, especially early in the hiring process. TeacherMatch’s EPI offers predictive data to support and improve hiring decisions. Backed by substantial research and powerful organizations in education research like the Northwest Evaluation Association, TeacherMatch has created a hiring tool that assesses teacher candidates in four main areas: teaching skills, qualifications, cognitive ability, and attitudinal factors. The platform is easy to use, and it integrates with most HR platforms. We have found the EPI assessment to be incredibly insightful and essential in making informed decisions as part of our hiring process.

(Next page: Four more tech tools for hiring and developing effective teachers)

TeacherMatch Professional Development Profile (PDP)

The ability to create customizable plans to support individual and group professional development can be extremely impactful. The Professional Development Profile offers actionable steps to improve teaching skills based on a teacher’s strengths and weaknesses. Administrators can then create personalized PD plans before a teacher ever reaches the classroom door. How cool is that? Another great feature is the PDP Summary Report, which displays the overall strengths and areas of weaknesses of all teachers in a school or district for a high-level overview of where they excel and where they might need additional PD.

Discovery Education

The meaningful and authentic use of technology in the classroom can greatly enhance a teacher’s ability to help his or her students learn. One tool to help teachers incorporate technology authentically is Discovery Education Streaming Plus, which provides exclusive learning content to teachers and students from Discovery Communications networks like The Discovery Channel, The Science Channel, and Animal Planet—content that fosters the digital transition through engaging, real-world learning opportunities.

From a PD perspective, Discovery Education also offers access to a global community of educators through the Discovery Educator Network (DEN), where teachers can network and share new digital teaching styles—creating virtual Professional Learning Communities made up of teachers from around the world.


With limited or decreasing budgets, it can be challenging to allocate and plan for professional development. 5Sight allows school leaders to review and analyze their own data trends and benchmark those trends against their peers. This is especially useful during negotiations and when making decisions regarding resource allocation, enrollment, staffing, budgets, and organizational effectiveness. I have found 5sight easy to use, and the ability to create long-term fiscal plans helps focus resources on teacher hiring, retention, and effectiveness.


A powerful component of professional development is enabling our teachers to connect. 5Share is a private online network that allows educators to collaborate and tap into the best practices of school district leaders across the country. With the ability to easily communicate with peers, educational leaders can conduct comparative case studies with other districts in similar situations. 5Share also integrates the data and analytics found in 5Sight to give school leaders the chance to collaborate around data in an effort to focus and maximize the effective use of resources designed to support effective teaching and learning.

David Schuler, Ph.D., is superintendent of High School District 214.

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