Heads Up

Welcome to Heads Up, a blogging experiment that aims to: 

  • connect the people, parts, and principles of Durham Academy;
  • share ideas about learning and human development;
  • spotlight a few of the many wondrous things I get to see every day at Durham Academy. 

Thanks for reading the posts below — and sending news, links and ideas worth sharing. 

Michael Ulku-SteinerHead of School 


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Hunting season begins - an anti-bias reminder video

In a blog post last year, I shared some thoughts about the qualities I often seek in faculty colleagues, regardless of the subject or grade level:

  • Ethical force of character
  • Intelligence
  • In-depth subject knowledge
  • Physical vigor
  • Humility
  • Commitment to personal mastery
  • Positive team play

 Click here to see the full post

In our recent community servey for the 2015 Durham Academy Strategic Plan, 85% of respondents said it is "extremely important" that DA hire and support "faculty with passion, energy and a love of teaching."  No surprise here, as our graduates, our parents, and our current students all point to the quality of the faculty as the single most important factor in the health of the school. 

How do we find extraordinary educators? How do we recruit them to DA? How do we help them fit into our already passionate, energetic, and loving faculty? 

As this year's new faculty recruits settle into their roles at DA, we are already beginning our 2015 teacher recruiting efforts. 

You can help - by spreading the word the openings we'll post on our Careers at DA page, and by pointing extraordinary teachers in our direction. 

While alumni connections or family references often prove quite helpful with our faculty recruiting work, we also take care to cast our nets as broadly as possible. Sometimes the unknown, unorthodox, or even uncomfortable candidate proves the strongest in the field. Especially as we work to diversify the demographics, experiences, and teaching styles of our faculty, we ought to look as far and wide as possible for the next crop of DA teaching superstars. 

Today, Middle School Digital Learning Coordinator Karl Schaefer shared with me a compelling video from Google, one I'll keep in mind as I move through the coming months and scores of interviews with potential DA teachers. I think you'll enjoy the video too. Here it is, 

Posted by mulkus on Friday September, 26, 2014


Great video clip and conversation starter! Many times, I have had a conversation with fellow professionals of color when it comes to both hiring practices and when it comes to teaching children from different backgrounds. This video clip not only reminds me of recent conversations I have engaged with friends and family members, but it also reminds of the Equity/Diversity work done in my school district and the topic of 'not knowing what you don't know'...or more often coined as, "Don't know what you don't know." Understanding that we are susceptible to making decisions that are being influenced by what's deep down in our subconscious...or in that 'don't know what we don't know' place, is a great starting point for 'making the unconscious conscious.' Through starting or continuing the work of making the unconscious conscious, we will all be in a better place to welcome the candidate, the teacher, the administrator and even the student who is a treasure--but perhaps a little unknown and unorthodox and challenges our comfort levels from time to time. Thanks for posting and for the excellent reminder!

from G. Becton on 09/28/14 at 11:45AM
Today's discussion about the faculty evaluation process brought me back to this post and the original post about magnificent colleagues. I am hoping we can articulate what it means to be "magnificent" at DA while we attempt to list observable ways to evaluate progress. Each measurable standard should clearly point to the traits we value in our teaching professionals. In theory, consistenlty meeting the standards = being a magnificent colleague. Not only will this serve as a valuable tool for the faculty evaluation process, it will support our new faculty members as they attempt to figure out what being a successful member of our DA faculty requires. 
from Michele Gutierrez on 10/02/14 at 10:45PM

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