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Key Strategies for Recruiting and Retaining Educators of Color

Thursday, November 30, 2023 @ 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm EST

Teachers smiling

Presented by LaCreasha Stille, Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources, Gainesville Independent School District (TX); Jeannie Aversa, Executive Director of Recruitment, Selection and Retention, Syracuse City School District (NY); Dr. Peter Leida, Partnership Manager, Insight Education Group; and Crystal Hercules, Senior Associate, Insight Education Group

Sponsored by Insight Education Group

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Over the past five years, the Empowering Educators to Excel (E3) networked improvement community, comprised of four school districts (Colonial, Decatur, Marion, and Gainesville), has transformed their recruitment and retention strategies with remarkable success.

In a parallel network established three years ago, IGNITE, four additional districts (Jackson, Syracuse, Greenville, and Palm Beach) have collaboratively worked towards enhancing their systems for educator recruitment and retention.

The impact of these paradigm-shifting initiatives is evident in the increased number of educators from diverse backgrounds in each district. The establishment of sustainable partnerships and pipelines promises to shape the educator workforce of each of these districts. In this edLeader Panel, two district leaders and two educational experts deeply immersed in this work share their experiences in revitalizing recruitment and retention strategies through research, innovation, and collaborative efforts.

This recorded edLeader Panel is of interest to K-12 school leaders, district leaders, and district human resources professionals.

LaCreasha Stille

About the Presenters

LaCreasha Stille is the Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources for Gainesville ISD. LaCreasha is a distinguished educator with 30 years of experience in education. Her dedication to student achievement has been a lifelong commitment. She started her educational career as a paraprofessional and spent ten years teaching students at the elementary, middle, and high school levels. She has taught special education, English as a second language, ESOL, and English I, and was an assistant volleyball and softball coach. LaCreasha also has experience teaching higher education with the University of Phoenix.

For the last 20 years, she has been supporting students, families, and educational professionals as an assistant principal and principal in Crowley ISD, Andrews ISD, and most recently, Schertz-Cibolo-Universal City ISD. LaCreasha has a Bachelor of Science degree in economics from East Texas State University and a Master of Education degree in educational leadership from Texas Christian University. She is also a proud GHS alum. Her educational background and personal experiences have helped shape her philosophy of education. LaCreasha believes all students are capable of learning at the highest level possible and our educational system will provide our children with the skills needed to be successful in our global economy.

Jeannie Aversa

Jeannie Aversa has been serving as an educator for 34 years, working for NYS in the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities, the Enlarged School District of Troy, and since 1996, in the Syracuse City School District. Previously, she was a teacher, building administrator, Director of Staff Effectiveness, and now Executive Director of Recruitment, Selection, and Retention. Jeannie currently is responsible for all work around intentional recruiting and retaining staff, particularly those of Color to reflect the diversity of our student population. She has helped to create partnerships with various colleges and universities (Syracuse University, SUNY Oswego, SUNY Cortland, Le Moyne College and Onondaga Community College) to build pipelines for career and promotional opportunities for staff. She has also managed several NYS and US Department of Education grants with Education Partners through Insight Education Grant, Public Impact, and Education First to provide diversifying teacher leader positions and building leadership capacity from within.

Jeannie has been a recent past board member for the SCSD Educational Foundation, SCSD Together We Can (initiative for faith-based communities to provide support within the schools) and is currently a member/mentor of the Fellowship of Women Christian Athletes and Links, Inc. Jeannie serves as an Adjunct Professor at Le Moyne College in the Educational Leadership Program. She is active in the Syracuse community at large and enjoys spending time with her family (Mom and 6 siblings) and Blessings (Nicholas, Paul, and Sam) attending Syracuse University sporting events, watching sunrises/sunsets, traveling and enjoying nature. Jeannie loves to laugh and have fun with the special people she has in her life.

Peter Leida

Dr. Pete Leida is a dedicated Partnership Manager at Insight Education Group, specializing in strategic planning, recruitment and retention, and leadership coaching for school districts. With an impressive background in education leadership, Dr. Leida brings a wealth of experience to his current role. Before joining Insight, Dr. Leida held the position of Deputy Superintendent at the Colonial School District in Delaware. In this capacity, he played a pivotal role in the successful implementation of the Empowering Educators to Excel Grant, while also providing crucial support to the Curriculum & Instruction and Schools Divisions.

Dr. Leida‘s extensive career in education includes serving as the Director of Schools, where he focused on leadership development, support, and evaluation of school leaders. Over 11 years, he held positions as an elementary assistant and principal in three different schools, all within the Colonial School District. His educational journey began as an elementary and special education teacher, demonstrating his deep commitment to the field. In addition to his impactful work, Dr. Leida shares his knowledge as an adjunct instructor at Wilmington University, further contributing to the development of future education leaders. His wealth of experience and dedication to educational excellence make him an invaluable asset in his role as a Partnership Manager.

Crystal Hercules

Crystal Hercules is a Senior Associate at Insight Education Group, specializing in service delivery. With a strong commitment to educational excellence, she provides vital support to school districts in the areas of educator effectiveness, recruitment and retention, equity audits, and strategic planning. Crystal’s journey in education began as a dedicated classroom teacher, serving students from kindergarten to sixth grade. Her passion for educational equity led her to become the Founding Program Manager of a non-profit organization in Wilmington, DE. In this role, she played a key part in bridging the gap between community leaders and educators, ensuring a high-quality educational experience for local students.

Following this, Crystal took on the role of managing operations and teacher development for an AmeriCorps program, further expanding her impact in the education sector. Most recently, she served as a school leader in Philadelphia, where her focus on data analysis, instructional coaching, and professional development was instrumental in driving student achievement. Crystal’s core belief is that all students deserve enriching educational experiences that cater to their academic and social-emotional needs. Her diverse experience and dedication make her a valuable asset in the pursuit of educational excellence.

Learn more about viewing the live presentation and the recording, earning your CE certificate, and using our new accessibility features.

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Insight Education Group

For over two decades, Insight Education Group has been committed to partnering with education leaders in their pursuit of transformative change. We empower leaders with the strategic vision and confidence to lead bold initiatives, providing the embedded support required to drive meaningful change.

Our seasoned team has worked extensively with schools, districts, charter management organizations, and state education agencies, addressing their most pressing challenges. With backgrounds as former teachers, school leaders, and high-level district and state administrators, we bring a unique understanding of the complexities, nuances, and opportunities associated with change implementation. We are experts in forging close partnerships that allow us to provide practical solutions that promote equity and academic achievement for all.

Insight Education Group


Thursday, November 30, 2023
2:00 pm - 3:00 pm EST
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