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JULY 11, 2024

"Strategic Staffing" Models Remain Unproven

An NEPC Review funded by the Great Lakes Center

Key Takeaway: Recent report's central claim is that so-called strategic staffing models are a reliable way to address teacher workforce shortages and other challenges, but it provides little to no research evidence to support this claim.

GRAND RAPIDS, MI (JULY 11, 2024) - Following the pandemic, pervasive challenges have plagued the teaching profession, including teacher shortages, burnout, job dissatisfaction, and attrition. A new report from the Center on Reinventing Public Education proposes what it calls "strategic school staffing models" as a solution, though its evidence for this conclusion is lacking.

In her review of "So Hard, But So Rewarding:" How School System Leaders Are Scaling Up Strategic School Staffing Models, Stonehill College professor and Dean of Graduate and Professional Studies Elizabeth Stringer Keefe finds that its sweeping recommendations are disproportionate to the study's quite limited research evidence.

The report analyzes findings from interviews of 42 school leaders across six systems it identifies as implementing strategic school staffing models, which the report describes as "radically rethinking who they hire to educate students, how they design the job, and how they support educators to stay in the profession." The findings address issues such as how such models could be scaled, what challenges and supports leaders encountered, how the work can be supported, and the role of the school leader in strategic systems change.

The report concludes that, despite piloting and promising results, strategic school staffing initiatives remain "fragile" and are a recipe for leader burnout and potential failure to scale.

However, the report has multiple conceptual, design, and methodological flaws, including a lack of research evidence to support the report's assertions, conclusions, and recommendations. As a result, Dr. Stringer Keefe concludes that the report offers little actionable guidance for policymakers, school leaders, practitioners, or other stakeholders.

Find the review, by Elizabeth Stringer Keefe, at:

Find "So Hard, But So Rewarding:" How School System Leaders Are Scaling Up Strategic School Staffing Models, written by Lisa Chu, Lydia Rainey, & Steven Weiner and published by the Center on Reinventing Public Education, at:

NEPC Reviews ( provide the public, policymakers, and the press with timely, academically sound reviews of selected publications. NEPC Reviews are made possible in part by support provided by the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice:

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The mission of the Great Lakes Center for Education Research & Practice is to support and disseminate high-quality research and reviews of research for the purpose of informing education policy and to develop research-based resources for use by those who advocate for education reform.

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Michelle Renee Valladares
(720) 505-1958

Elizabeth Stringer Keefe
(508) 565-1049