EdTrends Leadership

Top 5 Criteria on Deciding If a School/District is a Good Place to Work?

The Survey Says.

What makes a good place to work? New teachers often ask this question to veterans.

ESGI And ThinkFives – always in search of good answers — polled hundreds of teachers to get their thoughts.  Here are the Top 5 criteria that our teachers recommend you use when evaluating whether your school or district is a good place to work.

Culture and philosophy

#5 on our list was culture and philosophy. Many teachers thought that they could only work in a district where there was a culture of positivity, and the district had a philosophy that matched their teaching style.

Among the criteria teachers consider:

  • Do students come first and are they equitably treated in attitude and resources?
  • Do they put their kids’ needs first?
  • Is there a positive learning environment?
  • Does the district embrace technology & innovation?
  • Are there small class sizes and interventions?
  • Is there a low staff turnover?
  • Are teachers treated as professionals?


Not surprisingly, location was listed by many as a strong consideration when deciding where to work. 

Interestingly, while most people were looking for schools that were close to home or at least nearby, some teachers specifically said they wanted to work at a school that was not in their neighborhood. They preferred to separate their professional life and their personal life. 

So whether it’s near or far far away, location is one of the Top 5 criteria.


Another important criterion for teachers was school or district leadership. All teachers know that educational research highlights the importance of leadership as one of the most important factors in school success.

Superintendents or principals set the tone for the climate. Having a leader with a vision and encouragement can make a huge difference.

Among the criteria teachers consider:

  • Do the leaders encourage employee engagement?
  • Are there good working relationships from administration to teachers to parents to students?
  • What does the support staff say about the leadership?
  • Is the principal down-to-earth?
  • Is the leadership aligned top to bottom?
  • Is the school or district known for its transparency?
  • Do the leaders avoid micromanaging and let teachers teach?

Administrative support

In addition to having good leadership, another important criterion is whether they support teachers. This can range from personal support to resource support to facility support. 

Among the criteria teachers consider:

  • Does the school have the appropriate amount of support staff?
  • Do teachers stay for their entire career?
  • Are the salary and benefits competitive with neighboring districts?
  • Do the teachers have all the resources they need to be successful? 
  • Are all teachers, new and old, given the same levels of support to be successful? 
  • Are the buildings in good repair and are issues dealt with promptly?
  • Have the leaders created a safe environment for students and teachers?


And coming in at #1 as the top criteria used by teachers to decide if a school or district is where they want to work, is the school community.

For many teachers it wasn’t one single factor that led them to a decision to work at a district or to stay at a school; it was the overall community the school created internally and was part of externally. This includes students, teachers, administrators, and the community at large.

Among the criteria teachers consider:

  • Do teachers see themselves as part of a school community or are they there merely to work?
  • How does the district or school interact and engage with the community?
  • Are there a lot of community events? Does the school participate?
  • Are parents positively involved in the lives of their students?
  • Does the school seek feedback from the community and use it to better the environment?
  • Is this a place where I want to spend many hours of my day?

What do you think are the most important criteria for deciding if a school is a good place to work?


  1. Administrative support! Huge factor for me, and had made a difference in the different schools I’ve worked in over the years.

  2. Definitely culture and community are important. I need a supportive and welcoming environment to know that my contributions are valued.

What do you THINK?

%d bloggers like this: