Attracting Quality Teachers to a Downtown District

Shaping the future and changing thousands of lives for the better is no small feat. Teaching and caring for young students requires the right mix of tenacity, patience and passion—and it all starts with hiring the right teachers. Phoenix Elementary School District (PESD)—located in Downtown Phoenix, Arizona—recognized a need for a new solution to attract the right educators in order to better serve its schools and students in an impactful way.

This problem isn’t unique. It’s one that many school districts face: a sore need for talent coupled with massive and ongoing teacher shortages. Schools now aren’t only hiring for the start of a school year, but year-round, making the demand for teachers constant.

Jason Hammond, PESD’s Director of HR, recalls the realization that “we had to move into electronic and digital marketing to have an advantage,” and the transition to digital recruitment would dramatically improve how the school's recruitment, messaging and employment brand could reach its candidate audiences. PESD was looking to hire more recent college graduates seeking an urban environment, and Hammond knew the district had to “talk their talk and reach them on their level,” and digital was the way to achieve this.

“ is more than a vendor. They are a business partner. They really believe in what we’re doing and want to help us get our story out there. I wouldn’t be able to expand this success that we’ve been experiencing if it was not for this partnership.”

Jason Hammond, Director of HR

As a cutting edge and progressive school district, PESD decided it needed to effectively incorporate this into its employment brand image and be sure it was conveying this message to its target audience of educators. That’s where came in.

Working together, was able to identify and effectively revitalize PESD’s employment brand as well as share its message in a digital way with the candidates who mattered most. Hammond attributes PESD’s success in part to “ wholeheartedly investing in and understanding the energy and spirit that defines PESD as an organization and employer, and showcasing that on our career site.”

Here are some of the changes implemented to make the transition effective:

A Change in Visuals transformed PESD’s career site landing page from one with dense text and few images to one that conveys its important information in a more user-friendly and visually-appealing way.

Why it worked: The new site incorporates sleek, modern design which appeals to a younger audience and showcases the organization as innovative and progressive. In addition, the change to more imagery and succinct text ensures that more candidates are actually reading the page.

Showcasing Location

Attracting top talent across the country requires demonstrating the best that Phoenix has to offer to out-of-state candidates. Knowing this, PESD wanted to exhibit Phoenix as a thriving and vibrant city to attract those young professionals. accomplished this by dedicating a vivid section of the career site to showcasing Phoenix in a way that allows candidates to picture themselves there.

Why it worked: On the new “Why Phoenix” page, candidates can explore things like entertainment and dining, travel possibilities, the Phoenix art scene and other interesting aspects of the metro area. Because young professionals crave exciting opportunities and new experiences, this information compels them to move to the area.

Highlighting Growth

Students are at the heart of all the PESD does. Hammond emphasizes, “We’re not here to make money, we’re here to serve students,” and with that comes hiring teachers who put students first. PESD focuses on the “total development” of students, viewing education as more than the learning of reading, writing and arithmetic, but making each student better holistically. It was of the utmost importance to the organization that this mentality be reflected on the career site.

Why it worked: PESD was looking for teachers who shared its passion for improving the lives of children and shaping their futures. The site highlights opportunities for educators and other staff members to grow their professional careers, and showcases the possibility of making a serious impact on students’ lives, confidence and performance. This message conveys the heart of what PESD is doing as an organization and aligns seamlessly with the talent they look to hire.

The End Result

The relaunch of the career site through was an enormous success. “The site is working for me 24/7,” says Hammond. “It’s reaching people across the country or world, and I consider it my best employee.” He also attributes a significant drop in candidate questions to the updated site, which demonstrates the career page is conveying the right information to the right people at the right time during their research process.

Now, even amidst a teacher shortage, PESD fills its requisitions and has reduced its turnover. This has helped the school bring in not just more candidates, but also the high-quality candidates that fit with PESD’s desired teaching audience. Hammond lauds the career site as “an exemplary product that places PESD on the forefront of public education recruiting,” drawing attention from high-ranking administrators and enhancing the education of thousands of children.

Want to see it for yourself? Check out the career site for Phoenix Elementary School District #1.

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