about the issue

Mt. Lebanon School District education is top quality by any yardstick you choose as a measure: test scores, graduation rate, the number of students who attend college, extracurricular opportunities, regional and national rankings and awards, well designed and maintained elementary and middle schools, and soon, a state-of-the art high school.

With its national reputation, our school district draws young families to Mt. Lebanon and is one of the main reasons residents enjoy strong property values. Whether or not we have kids in school, we all have a big investment in the success of our schools.

Good facilities, a challenging curriculum and plenty of opportunities for sports, cultural arts and social activities contribute to the exceptional public education Mt. Lebanon offers. But as most of us would agree, the linchpin of any successful educational program is capable teachers who care deeply about the children whose futures they help to shape.
Seems everyone wants to teach in Mt. Lebanon or a similar district, but with a shrinking job market, young people are having trouble landing these prestigious jobs, even if they boast top grades from top universities. As a result, rumors and speculation abound. Did so-and-so get a job because she knew someone on the school board or was a relative of a principal? Did so-and-so lose out on a position because a jealous competitor spread misinformation about him?

Apparently that happens in some places. So we asked Nichola Moretti to examine how Mt. Lebanon screens, interviews and ultimately hires teachers, ensuring that the top candidates get jobs for which they are “a good fit.” What Moretti’s story, page 38, reveals is that the teacher hiring policies are standardized and the process involves many more people than most of us would imagine. The scenario she describes suggests that everyone involved—the human resources staff, the department heads, the principals, select students and the superintendent—truly are searching for the best, brightest and most experienced teachers.

The process the school district employs does not ensure that all Mt. Lebanon children will always see eye to eye with their teachers (and vice versa). Everyone has a favorite and a least favorite teacher, after all. But Mt. Lebanon School District’s comprehensive evaluation of teacher candidates, along with the mentoring and oversight provided new teachers, helps assures that our children have the opportunity for a great education and our school district will remain among the best of the best.