Grow Your Own


Superintendent León took an intentional approach to mitigating the shortage of qualified teachers through extensive investments in “Grow Your Own” (GYO) programs because he strongly believes in the vital role that NBOE staff have on students- “When our Staff Grow, We All Grow.”

The teacher shortage is a nation-wide crisis affecting numerous states across our nation. The Newark Board of Education (NBOE) was not exempt from facing such a challenge. By June 2022, there were approximately over 400 vacancies in our district. Experts have attributed the shortage to the impact of COVID-19, salary concerns, and social, emotional, and physical fatigue. Faced with this challenge, NBOE got to work! The Office of Human Resource Services (HRS) implemented both traditional and innovative recruitment and retention strategies to not only attract new teacher candidates, but also to support current staff members from leaving a career that they love. Traditional strategies included a new starting salary of $62,000, a sign-on bonus of $4,000, a $1,000 referral bonus, and a retiree campaign. Superintendent León took an intentional and innovative approach to mitigating the shortage of qualified teachers through extensive investments in “Grow Your Own” (GYO) programs, such as Pathways to Teaching. HRS was able to partner with local universities to assist identified staff members, who met the necessary qualifications, to enter programs based on their needs. As a result, HRS has over 200 potential candidates who are in the process of obtaining their teaching certification.

To help support retention, the HRS Benefits Services team, in partnership with Aetna, broker partners, and support of Superintendent León’s vision, the district proudly launched NBOEWell. Full-time staff receive outstanding health benefits to enhance their overall social, emotional, and physical well-being. Through the NBOE Well Program, staff receive access to Noom, Peerfit, Teledoc, and several other health programs that help bring a healthy work-life balance as NBOE continues to assist educators with the stress that comes with the profession. All of these programs serve the NBOEWell mission: empowering the staff with the tools and resources they need to Know More. Choose Better. Live Well.