IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this article

Mix and Match: What Principals Really Look for When Hiring Teachers

Listed author(s):
  • Douglas N. Harris


    (Educational Policy Studies, University of Wisconsin, Madison)

  • Stacey A. Rutledge


    (Educational Leadership and Policy, College of Education, Florida State University)

  • William K. Ingle


    (Leadership and Policy, Bowling Green State University)

  • Cynthia C. Thompson


    (Educational Leadership and Policy, College of Education, Florida State University)

The vast majority of research and policy related to teacher quality focuses on the supply of teachers and ignores teacher demand. In particular, the important role of school principals in hiring teachers is rarely considered. Using interviews of school principals in a midsized Florida school district, we provide an exploratory mixed methods analysis of the teacher characteristics principals prefer. Our findings contradict the conventional wisdom that principals undervalue content knowledge and intelligence. Principals in our study ranked content knowledge third among a list of twelve characteristics. Intelligence does appear less important at first glance, but this is apparently because principals believe all applicants who meet certification requirements meet a minimum threshold on intelligence and because some intelligent teachers have difficulty connecting with students. More generally, we find that principals prefer an “individual mix” of personal and professional qualities. They also create an “organizational mix,” hiring teachers who differ from those already in the school in terms of race, gender, experience, and skills, and an “organizational match,” in which teachers have similar work habits and a high propensity to remain with the school over time. Because of tenure rules, many principals also prefer less experienced (untenured) teachers, even though research suggests that they are less effective. © 2010 American Education Finance Association

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: Access to PDF is restricted to subscribers.

As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

Article provided by MIT Press in its journal Education Finance and Policy.

Volume (Year): 5 (2010)
Issue (Month): 2 (April)
Pages: 228-246

in new window

Handle: RePEc:tpr:edfpol:v:5:y:2010:i:2:p:228-246
Contact details of provider: Web page:

Order Information: Web:

No references listed on IDEAS
You can help add them by filling out this form.

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:tpr:edfpol:v:5:y:2010:i:2:p:228-246. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Kristin Waites)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.