Mentoring New Board Members

By Quintin Shepherd

As a school board member, you know that teacher attrition and retention is a problem. Recent data suggests that 46 percent of new teachers leave the profession within the first five years. This attrition costs billions of dollars each year in turnover, training, and recruitment costs -- not including the educational costs to the students.

You also know that a solid mentoring program can go a long way to decreasing attrition. Successful mentoring programs can drive down teacher attrition by 65 percent or more. Mentoring programs also can help new administrators, superintendents, and, of course, board members.

But as any educator can tell you, programs don’t teach. It’s almost never about the program but always about the mindset. So what is a mentoring mindset? What makes it work and how does one know it is successful? And what can school boards learn from the efforts of educators in this area?

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