Attracting and Retaining Excellence in Clifton Public Schools


This is the sixth article in a series. In an effort to better understand what voters want to know about the seven candidates for the Board of Education, we invited the community to send in questions. Each candidate was given the same set of ten questions and were invited to respond to any six of them. They had six days to submit their answers. The questions ranged from handling division on the BOE to keeping school taxes low and to more pointed questions about book banning and school segregation.

Five of the seven candidates responded by the deadline. Juan Pabon sent his late and will be included in the remaining articles. We did not receive a response from Jim Smith.

We will present the responses in a series of articles, publishing them in collections that will allow the community to directly compare responses from the various candidates. Responses are listed in no particular order and the order will vary from article to article. The first one tackled the question of keeping taxes low and was the only question that all five respondents chose as one of their six to answer. The second looked into the candidates’ specific backgrounds and asked them to pinpoint some of the issues they see in the district. The third story asked the candidates what they would change in the district if they had a magic wand. The fourth covered yearly goals and unifying the BOE and yesterday’s story tackled two of the most controversial questions submitted, which the same three candidates opted to address.

Today’s article asks the candidates to consider the importance of attracting and retaining professionals to staff our schools and how best to do that.

What can we do to make our Clifton Schools’ faculty and staff feel supported or adequately paid so that we retain and attract high-quality talent its workforce?

Cameron Hebron - “Research shows that people don’t feel that there’s enough job growth and financial security to be incentives to teach. We could burden teachers with more training and certifications which is very important. Or we can advocate to make education just as vital a part of the federal budget as the police and defense budgets. We’re still falling behind our peer nations. Not to mention the security concerns that aren’t being addressed federally.”

Joe Canova - “To support faculty and staff, we must explore fair compensation packages, professional development opportunities, and a positive working environment that retains and attracts high-quality talent. Recognition programs and touting successful alumni along their teacher paths too can be a way to show them the lifelong impact they have had on the children.”

Fahim Abedrabbo - “Due to today’s teacher shortage, districts like Clifton Schools have resulted in non-traditional methods when it comes to teaching in the classroom. This is not necessarily because teachers do not want to come to Clifton, but this resulted from the lack of college students wanting to go into the field of education and retirement. In order to retain and attract quality talent to Clifton, teachers need to feel appreciated through a competitive salary and supported through a healthy work environment. The competitive salary is created through negotiations between the board and the bargaining union. The healthy work environment starts from the top with the administration of the district to ensure positive team building, available resources for teachers, reducing administrative duties, and continued appreciation for their hard work in educating our students and creative positive citizens of the world.”

Joseph Siano - “I understand the desire to have and retain high-quality faculty and staff. It is essential for our success as an organization that we value and support the people who provide such important service.

In order to make sure our faculty and staff feel supported or adequately paid, it is essential that we look at compensation on both a systemic level and an individual one. Clear policies must be laid out in terms of what constitutes fair pay for each position throughout the district so everyone knows what they can expect when entering into new positions. We must also ensure those policies remain competitive with other districts to attract top talent from near and far away locations.”

Juan Pabon - “The District is lucky to have some great staff, teachers, and students. As a Board, we should be focusing on retaining these high-quality teachers and attracting new high-quality teachers to the district. I believe that we need to listen to our children's educators. In a time of rapid technological advancements, their education changes also. Teachers want more technology in their classrooms, they want new teaching tools, new equipment, etc. As a board, this should be looked into more often as technology changes. Another incentive is providing sign-on bonuses, making educators' pay attractive, and offering a good CBA. Clifton students have a lot of potential, and getting the right people to lead our students to the next level is key in locking that potential.”

There will be one final story tomorrow; be sure to check The Clifton Times so you don’t miss it!

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