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HR and Schools

Human resource management has become highly important not just in business but also in the world of education. Schools now have to hire, support, and sometimes fire personnel. With these various outcomes, it is the role of the HR person to maneuver through these situations.

Who is Responsible for HR

In the school setting, the role of HR can vary substantially. In a small school, the principal may be primarily in charge of the various processes associated with HR. In larger schools, this role may shift to an assistant principal or someone else on campus. Some school districts control this process and may send a new teacher to the district office for processing. The point is that there is no single standard way for a school to handle the aspects of HR.


Even though every school and district can handle this process differently, several things are generally considered HR responsibilities, including the following.

  • Compliance
  • Employee hiring and training
  • Performance management
  • Compensation and benefits
  • Professional development


In the US, there are a lot of laws relating to employer-employee relations that have to be adhered to, and this falls on the HR manager to do. These laws include discrimination, fair labor, medical leave, labor relations, and more. For example, teachers are entitled to maternity leave when they have children. The HR manager needs to ensure the teacher(s) can take this leave; otherwise, the school could be sued in court.

These various laws are laws the HR manager needs to be aware of. As already mentioned ignoring these laws could have severe legal ramifications for an educational institution.


HR plays a critical role in the selection of potential teachers. Often, HR is the one who receives resumes and forwards qualified candidates to the administration and other leadership members. HR is also often responsible for scheduling interviews, participating in interviews, and oftener feedback on potential candidates. It is also often HR’s job to congratulate those who have been offered employment and contact those who were not selected.

During this process, HR also ensures all laws are adhered to regarding such topics as discrimination, affirmative action policies, and negotiating compensation for potential candidates. For teachers, it is also important to check if they have the appropriate state credentials and to develop a plan for acquiring them if a selected person does not have them.

Once an employee is tired, it is also the HR manager’s job to onboard the new teacher. This can involve showing the new employee around, introducing them to their new, and explaining policies and expectations. There is also the task of completing a lot of paperwork involving benefits, salary, and acknowledging an understanding of critical policies.

Performance Management

Performance management is another critical task of HR. In this regard, it is common for HR to work with the administration to ensure that teachers’ performance is evaluated. Usually, this is done once a year, but it can be more frequent if a teacher is struggling at their job or if the teacher has less experience.

In this task, the HR manager often serves the role of secretary. They remind administrators of these tasks and maintain a record of the evaluation for legal reasons. However, this may not be the case in every instance that one sees in the field.

If performance is not acceptable, that is where things can be tricky. HR must ensure all laws and policies are followed when dealing with an underperforming teacher. Again, they serve as a guide to the administration, who often do the heavy lifting of removing teachers if needed.


Compensation and benefits are often not as negotiable for teaching and even some administrative positions. Things improve a great deal in terms of negotiating at higher levels such as principal and especially at the superintendent and beyond. For rank and file teachers, there often is much to fight for in terms of salary.

Some schools have performance-based pay. The HR manager must explain these policies to new hires in such situations. Unlike other fields, people often do not become teachers for the salary, so compensation is not often a major topic.

Professional Development

A major component of teaching is professional development. This can involve taking college courses and or in-house training. Often it is required by law for teachers to have additional training throughout their careers. Therefore, professional development is a major part of the HR process.

The HR manager or the local needs to ensure that all teachers earn additional education as part of the employment. HR may also assist in setting up training opportunities for teachers. As such, this is a major part of the HR professional job at the school level.


HR has become a critical part of most educational institutions. Whether it’s laws, hiring, training, or managing teachers, HR is often a part of this process.

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