HR Seeks Faculty Diversity

Future Plans to Diversify Bolles Upper School Faculty


12% of the Bolles upper school faculty identifies as non-caucasian, that is approximately 13 faculty members out of the total of 108.

When asked about diversity initiatives Bolles is making, Mrs. Twyla Ashman states “we understand that it is a critical point for us to get more diversity in our faculty and staff, and in particular, in the classroom.”

To explain the spread of teachers at Bolles, Mr. Tyler Hodges states, “We are proud of the diversity within our faculty and staff. I believe this diversity makes Bolles a richer educational environment. Our differences help define us both as a community and as individuals.”

Realistically, the process of expanding the diversity of Bolles faculty will take years. There are only so many teaching positions open each year and Bolles can only hire so many people at one time. Mr. Jeff Role from Bolles Human Resources explains, “We typically have around 2-4 faculty openings per year.”

Bolles representatives attended the Carney Sandoe independent school hiring diversity forum this year to find candidates for available positions at Bolles.

Ashman explains that while this will be a long process because of the limited open spots each year, “where we are located geographically has also been a challenge.” In reality, Jacksonville, FL is not as popular as cities like Atlanta, Miami, etc. Our location as a school is a heavy hindrance to the hiring process.

In terms of the length of the process to diversify the faculty, Role says that “Bolles is committed to attracting highly diverse candidate pools for all our openings and look at this as an ongoing process.”

Infographic showing the percentage of faculty identifying as non-Caucasian (12%)

Ashman also emphasizes some aspects that the Bolles hiring committees need to keep in mind, “the hiring committees to be open-minded which sometimes means hiring someone that does not remind us of us, someone who may look differently and bring different perspectives to our community.”

Dr.. Teresa Jenkins, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Director at St. Mary’s School in Memphis, TN, explained that we need to challenge the idea that the job must always go to the most qualified person, “We always make exceptions.”

Ashman added that “we really need to be able to think outside of the box and stay away from what one may think is the best fit, which is one of the things that independent schools have done historically.”

Ashman stated, “Hiring is determined by a set of credentials, but also the best fit, which usually means someone who is more like us.” Diversity among the people that are hiring for the school promotes that aspect in the hiring process.

Jenkins led workshops at the Low Country Diversity Conference attended by our faculty and students. She offered strategies to diversify the faculty beyond recruitment fairs saying to, “reach out to local HBCUs, build a relationship with them and provide a pipeline for students in those schools to work at your school in summer programs or aftercare programs.”

Jenkins also mentioned that the school can “send job notices to fraternities and sororities in the area and the larger churches, those places can be your largest source for a population of applicants, students, and donors.” In addition, she explained the importance of giving opportunities “for faculty to work with local educators and librarians” in order to expand beyond the school and into the local community.