New book from UW–Madison’s Kelley outlines new approach to human resources management in schools

By Laurel White

A new book from a School of Education faculty member reimagines human resources management in schools.

The book, “Strategic Human Resources Management in Schools: Talent-Centered Education Leadership,” offers school leaders an approach to human resources management that connects strategic human resources to organizational goals, educational mission, educator well-being, and student success.


Carolyn Kelley, the Jim and Georgia Thompson Distinguished Professor of Education in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis, co-authored the book. She says it aims to help leaders move away from human resource practices that are isolated and reactionary. 

Teachers face surprisingly high levels of stress that lead to dissatisfaction, turnover, and declining interest in the profession,” Kelley says. “Some of the factors that contribute to this high stress include a perceived lack of parent, community, and political support, and challenges to school safety.”

Kelley says human resources practices that focus solely on ratcheting up student learning outcomes sometimes fail to consider the importance of ensuring that teachers have a positive and supportive workplace to help to overcome those challenges.

“Strategic Human Resources Management in Schools” includes exemplary practice examples from progressive organizations and leading companies, as well as discussions of complicated issues that face human resource management professionals, such as discrimination and implicit bias. Grounded in the Professional Standards for Educational Leaders (PSEL) and National Educational Leadership Preparation (NELP) Building and District Level standards, it also includes case studies, discussion questions, and learning activities. 

Image courtesy Routledge

The work also addresses how leaders can support and develop teachers and school support staff in a human-centered way. It presents the Talent-Centered Education Leadership (TCEL) model, which is focused on how educational leadership can foster nurturing and inclusive workplaces for educational staff, including paraprofessionals such as food service workers and bus drivers. 

“Research shows that this kind of support is critical for not only supporting better student learning outcomes, but strengthening schools’ ability to recruit and retain high-quality teachers,” Kelley says.  

The book is part of a series published by Routledge. The series is focused on school-level leadership, particularly principals and assistant principals, and aims to provide educational leadership students, faculty members, professional developers, and practitioners with a greater understanding of those leaders’ core functions as outlined in the latest leadership standards.

Kelley co-authored the book with Henry Tran, an associate professor of educational leadership at the University of South Carolina.

Broadly, Kelley’s research focuses on strategic human resources management in schools, including teacher compensation, principal and teacher evaluation, and leadership development. She is also the co-creator of the Comprehensive Assessment of Leadership for Learning (CALL), a first-of-its-kind survey and feedback tool for educators. CALL is now a fee-for-service product, reaching outside the halls of academia with the help of the Wisconsin Center for Education Products & Services (WCEPS).

More information about “Strategic Human Resources Management in Schools: Talent-Centered Education Leadership” is available here

Pin It on Pinterest