EduOpenings: Helping Educators Discover Jobs

Dr. Howard Fields and Dr. Darryl Diggs Jr. discuss, a website to help educators and districts streamline the job search process.

By SchoolCEO Last Updated: June 15, 2023


Dr. Howard Fields and Dr. Darryl Diggs Jr. discuss, a website to help educators and districts streamline the job search process.


Visit to post jobs within your schools and/or find new opportunities for yourself and others.

SchoolCEO speaks with two educators from St. Louis who founded the website The platform helps districts find and attract educators to their schools AND makes it easier for those same educators to find new opportunities within K-12.

Dr. Howard Fields is an Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources in St. Louis County. He’s also an award-winning leader, author, creator, and adjunct professor. Follow Dr. Fields on Twitter at @HeFields3

Dr. Darryl Diggs Jr. is an educator and advocate for diversity and inclusion in education with over 15 years of experience. In his current role as Director of Equity, Dr. Diggs oversees the district’s DEI initiatives, which include professional development for staff, training for students, and support for all St. Louis County school districts. Follow Dr. Diggs on Twitter at @Achievement4ALL


Intro Quote: Dr. Howard Fields (Guest): I was able to recruit by being out there, like in the district where I was first the building principal, we didn't have a lot of people knocking on our doors to get there, but we created an online social media presence. Our reputation preceded ourselves in terms of me being out there. And we have a number of large businesses here in the St. Louis area, and people were relocating here. 

And sometimes if you're relocating in the summer, some of your other districts may have already hired. I may not have had an opportunity to hire. And so I was recruiting people and trying to do great work. And when I would ask that question, where I'm getting to, Tyler, in terms of how did you hear about us or what made you come to our school district? They would all say the same thing, hey, we saw your online presence. We saw this, we saw that. And that was something I tucked in the back of my mind. 

And so now with me being in HR, regardless of what you think about your school system, your building, or what you think about your leadership, the unspoken word is out there, and it can either help you or it can hinder you.

Tyler Vawser (Host): Welcome back to SchoolCEO Conversations. Thank you for being here and for listening. This podcast is an extension of SchoolCEO Magazine, which publishes original research and perspectives to help empower school superintendents and other K-12 leaders.

I'm your host, Tyler Vawser, and to that end, I sit down with leaders in education and in business to discuss how to better market your schools. In this episode, I speak with two educators from St. Louis who founded The platform helps districts find and attract educators to their schools and makes it easier for those same educators to find new opportunities within K-12. 

Dr. Howard Fields is an assistant superintendent of human resources in St. Louis County. He's also an award winning leader, author, creator, and adjunct professor. Dr. Darryl Diggs Jr. Is an educator and advocate for diversity and inclusion in education. With over 15 years of experience in his current role as Director of Equity, Dr. Diggs oversees the district's DEI initiatives, which include professional development for staff, training for students, and support for all St. Louis County school districts. Together, we discuss how started, how the platform is rethinking the job search process both for candidates and for districts, SchoolCEO’s own research into teacher recruitment, and so much more. Let's join the conversation.

Tyler Vawser (Host): All right. Well, Dr. Howard Fields and Dr. Darryl Diggs. Thanks so much for joining SchoolCEO Conversations.

Dr. Howard Fields (Guest): Thank you for having us.

Dr. Darryl Diggs Jr. (Guest): Hey, thank you. It's a pleasure and an honor. Thank you for this invitation.

Tyler Vawser (Host): Yeah, well, I'm glad this is the second time we've had a chance to sit down and chat. The first time was actually just outside of St. Louis at a coffee shop. This time we're recording digitally. So not quite the same as sitting in person, but it's nice to have met you both in person just a couple of weeks ago.

Dr. Howard Fields (Guest): Yeah, we had fun. The weather was beautiful. It was a nice place that we had a chance to relax at called The Living Room. So it was a really good conversation.

Tyler Vawser (Host): Yeah, I was there because we're going to be back in St. Louis in July for NSPRA, the big PR association conference and so I had a few team members up there prepping for some things and excited to share that out. But to get things rolling, I'd love for you each to introduce yourselves.

So we'll start with you, Dr. Fields. Do you want to talk about who you are and your background a little bit and then we'll talk to Dr. Diggs?

Dr. Howard Fields (Guest): Absolutely. And when you're in St. Louis again, it is the expectation that we'll get a chance to connect and maybe even go back to the Living Room. But with that being the case, I'm so honored to be here in the space having a conversation with you and Dr. Diggs. I am Howard Fields. I am currently an assistant superintendent of human resources in a St. Louis County School District, again located in St. Louis County. In addition to that, I am also the co-founder of BME STL, which is Black males in education St. Louis, the state of Black educator symposium. But the purpose for us convening today is I am also the co-founder of EduOpenings, which I am pretty excited to talk about.

Tyler Vawser (Host): Awesome. Dr. Diggs, what about you? Tell us about who you are.

Dr. Darryl Diggs Jr. (Guest): Thank you, thank you. Again, it's an honor and a pleasure to be in the space always, you know, when I'm connected with Dr. Fields, it's a great conversation, but also we're able to just dive deeper into the work of education, teaching, learning, and also building relationships. So just a little bit about myself. A quick snapshot. I am a director of equity for the teaching and learning division for the Special School District of St. Louis County. So that is a long title, like a bunch of different words, but if you were to boil it all down, basically I help individuals have tough conversations. 

We're on a journey together to understand what true equity is, also what inclusion looks and feels like and also what diversity, it happens to be in the space when we're able to really be and lean in with one another. So that's me professionally. I am an educator of 15 years. I am a father of two boys. I have been married for ten years. I love to read, write, and take long walks in the park. So just really excited if it resonates from my voice. If only you could see us in person.

Tyler Vawser: Yeah, awesome. Well, good. Well, let's jump in. I want to talk about EduOpenings and listeners that are familiar with SchoolCEO, both the magazine and the podcast, know that we talk a lot about recruiting, both because it's very important, it's relevant, but also we've done a lot of research into that. And my own background is actually, I've done a lot of marketing. But when I started here at Apptegy and SchoolCEO I actually started by doing recruiting for the first time. And I really found a lot of passion for that and so would love to kind of continue to dive into this topic. And I think what EduOpenings is doing is something really smart and important but also very practical. And so would love to hear you talk a little bit more to our audience about what EduOpenings is and the ideas behind that.

Dr. Darryl Diggs Jr.: For sure. Thank you for that. So I'll start and I'll give a layup to Dr. Fields. So Dr. Fields and I, we happen to by happenstance through serendipity rather, find each other on an orienteering expedition and through that experience and then also coming together to formulate these ideas or try to understand hey, how can we solve the current issues, concerns, problems that we naturally see in education? We wanted to find a way to take an old system and transform it in a sense to help educators fill positions, find jobs, hiring parties to become recruiters, and so we wanted to take again something complex but not oversimplify it, right? 

Right now in the field of education we have seen largely that there are vacancies, there are individuals that are looking for talent, right? There are educators looking for their next opportunity or their job that happens to fit to their likeness. And so for us we wanted to do something that was one, innovative, two, delved into technology and then just give it out to the world. So right now it's a mobile app as well as a web based platform built specifically to create space for educators. Howard, what would you say?

Dr. Howard Fields: Well, I think you did a great job of encapsulating where we have been and what we're trying to do. Essentially we are educators trying to continue to recruit people into what we believe is the best field out there and that is education. Having said that, everyone is hiring now. A number of organizations are having to probably put in a little bit more effort than they have always had to with recruiting and some people are just throwing everything in the kitchen sink into recruiting. 

And so our platform, which started before all of this more recent what we would deem as the educator shortage, before that we wanted to create space because that is what Darryl and I believe we do better than any other organization around. We create space. And so in recruiting space, in the education space we have found that not only is our platform a space by which people can post jobs for free and it goes out to not only our website, not only our mobile app, it goes out to social media, all of the social media platforms. It is also in our newsletter. 

And with all of that being the case, it puts us in a position where there should not be a surprise or it shouldn't be a secret that you have a job opening. And so I think Darryl did a tremendous job of conveying that. But there's so much more, right? By virtue of my role being in human resources, Darryl's role, we are in space, so we listen in terms of what is needed next. And because of that, we are in a prime position to help us transcend what hiring, recruiting, retention, sounds and looks like in the education field. And that right there, that next element of EduOpenings we are equally excited about as well.

Tyler Vawser: Interesting. So on that, what are you hearing from teachers and other educators about what they're looking for in jobs, what they want to see around maybe their own job search?

Dr. Howard Fields: So I'll start off with what they're seeing right now and then I'll have Darryl jump in about how we're going to respond and incorporate AI and all of that. But for starters, I would say people are looking for an opportunity to get quick information. They don't necessarily want to have to jump through a ton of hoops or click on some Clinton Bates switches that typically occur in a lot of the platforms. They want to see where the jobs are. Once they know where the jobs are, they want to know about the particular organizations. They want to know if all of the information is there, etcetera, etcetera. So that's just on a basic level. 

But once they were to apply because everyone is hiring for the most part, how are we putting ourselves in a situation where we're not having to take an entire day or two just to fill out the first portion of the application? And so I think that's a piece, another piece more so that I've been studying a lot is similar to the NBA where people want to play with other all stars. You want to play with other people that you're going to laugh together, cry together, and essentially do some great work for students, communities and our fellow staff. Well, because of that, they want to be in a space where they can be their authentic self. They want to be in a space where they can learn. They want to be in a space where it's not just, hey, do this. I'm hiring you to do this. 

Steve Jobs talked a little bit about, hey, at Apple, we don't hire smart people and tell them what to do. We hire smart people and allow them to tell us what to do. And so that collaboration piece and all of that, that's vitally important and it echoes, I'm pretty sure, Tyler, some of the research that you all are doing, but also it goes a step further in terms of confirming that piece. Darryl, can you talk a little bit about now where we're going with the emergence of AI.

Dr. Darryl Diggs Jr.: Absolutely. Thank you for that, Howard. And also phenomenal question. What I would say is this, I will call it the A's, right? AI and analytics, what Howard and I have found through the space that we have created with EduOpenings is that people are coming to us wanting to know, hey, how many people are really interested in this particular job? How many folks are looking for a particular position? 

But also with these descriptors or maybe with this particular salary or location in which they're traveling from, with EduOpenings right now, we are able to produce a base level of analytics for clicks, views, impressions, things of that nature. Now, the next step in regards to openings is that we want to bring in and infuse artificial intelligence into our platform. And so this is what I mean by that. Imagine spending a weekend and a half, if not three weekends, creating your cover letter, creating your interest form.

Also formatting your resume well with EduOpenings and the new edition of artificial intelligence. We can help you with that. We can save you time and be more efficient. Now, let's say you're a hiring party and you're like, okay, I have this new position, I have this new job, but I need help formulating the description, the responsibilities, the duties, what this individual may be doing. And so if we're looking for that level of need, well, we can assist you with that with artificial intelligence as well as AI components. But it gets better. We can help match you together with opportunity. We can also help you interview. That way you're able to be your best self when you come to the table to find that best job for yourself. So with analytics and also with AI, we're able to really meet the need at the speed of the need with Openings.

Tyler Vawser: Very cool. So it's a lot more than a job board, I do think. One thing to note, if somebody's driving and you're listening to this and you can't pull up right now at its kind of basic level, right? It is a job board, but it's really focused on education. And I think one important note to make on that is educators. Teachers, when they're looking for jobs right now, it's very often going to be on a school district website, or it's going to be on something like Indeed, which is one very cluttered with millions of positions, but also a lot of positions in the private sector. Probably mostly private sector positions, right? 

And when schools are competing to hire teachers, maybe 20 years ago you were competing with another school, but now we see actually there's a lot of competition even among private sector companies, right? Teachers are discovering for the first time maybe, that they can take these skills that were in the classroom and they can actually go into a private sector company and be successful there as well. So one advantage to EduOpenings for the teachers is that they're able to see positions that are related to their expertise in their field without kind of the distraction of all these other positions. 

And for someone that's hiring a superintendent or principal, someone in HR, that they have a little bit more confidence that the people that are visiting this are not going to be distracted by those other opportunities and are really focused on education, right? I'm kind of curious to get your response to that. Is that a fair assessment of the platform?

Dr. Howard Fields: It is very accurate. So much so we may need to recruit you to help convey the message because that is exactly the case. We are in a space by which we have these huge companies that do a great amount of work. They have budgets behind them that just do fantastic things and we appreciate that. Having said that, as we look at the analytics, people are looking for niche specific, right? And there was a big to do years ago about the Next Door app and how it was infringing on some of the Facebook market because it was very niche specific to that neighborhood. Well, with educators, it's the same thing. 

I know of a few individuals where they're looking for superintendent jobs, right? And when you click on that on LinkedIn, you may get a ton of superintendent jobs, but many of those superintendent jobs that you are aware of, it's superintendent within the context of construction and you see that happening time and time again. So how do we make sure that we are niche specific? And educators, especially teachers, they don't necessarily go to your LinkedIn as much as some of your other nonprofit or non-education based organizations. So that's the first piece you mentioned. Indeed does a fairly better job in my opinion, as opposed to your LinkedIn. But here's the thing with the Indeed piece that we found. We are more racially diverse with the individuals who are on our platform and who we promote to and push information out than Indeed. And so again, that niche specific framework is what we're using and what we're seeing is it's having a positive impact on that. And one of the biggest things, essentially it's free, right? It's going to go out to the masses and it's free. Now, if you need some paid promotion and all of that, we take care of that as well. But in the basic format, it is something that's free because at the end of the day, and I open my remarks up with this, we want to recruit people into the best field that we believe is possible on the planet and that is the education field.

Tyler Vawser: Yeah, really interesting, from SchoolCEO’s own research, we found that the two biggest ways that teachers discover jobs, one is through the school or the district website and the second is through word of mouth, right? But I think the important note for both of those ways of discovering a job is that you're only going to land on a website that you know about. You're going to have to go search for that yourself and word of mouth is going to be your own circle of influence. 

I think what EduOpenings does and what I found interesting is that you could discover an entirely new opportunity or even a new position or title that you didn't know existed because they're all there, but they're all within your field. Right. And I think that's a big distinction, right? Typically you're kind of looking for location and building or you're hearing about something from someone, but in this case, you're really broadening their perspective while keeping it within education. And so I think to me, that's one way that you're creating space is to say there are these other opportunities out there. You don't have to rely just on your network or someone that is in your corner. Hopefully you have those people, but if you don't have that network, especially if you're early in your career, this is a way to create more network opportunities.

Dr. Darryl Diggs Jr.: I would agree, and I would just add on to that just a little bit to say there are many sites that are out there that are very traditional, like many people know about. So, for example, if I had a question about salary, position, title, I would probably go to a site called Glassdoor, right? Well, right now, with EduOpenings to your point, Tyler, you're able to see all the jobs, you're able to see all the people, know all of the nuances and characteristics of these phenomenal positions that at this moment are looking for talented individuals. Well, if I'm an organization and I'm curious, like, hey, what's happening in Wisconsin or Florida or California or outside of the Midwest, I'm able to see that and do my own market research through EduOpenings due to the postings that are already there.

Tyler Vawser: Yeah. Interesting. Let's take a step back. I'm kind of curious to hear from each of you just about your own careers in education. What have those pivotal moments been in your career that led you to a new position or opened a door to something that you might not have been able to predict? It was either serendipitous or you had a mentor or someone that kind of showed you the way, so to speak.

Dr. Darryl Diggs Jr.: I'll start for me, I graduated high school and I thought I would go into criminal justice. And the reason for wanting to pursue criminal justice is because I had some great mentors in high school, number one. Number two, I wanted to be Will Smith in Men in Black. Pre Oscars.

Tyler Vawser: Right.

Dr. Darryl Diggs Jr.: And so I thought like, hey, that would be kind of cool. I could be a Secret Service agent, run all over the place, chase people down. So that was the thought, then immediately after high school, and so after being in the space, I quickly found myself just not being as interested as I thought I would be. And with having a family of educators and having the resource of their work, I was like, hey, you know what? Maybe I should try education and see where that leads me. And I think that's the best decision I've ever made, in addition to my wife and having our kids. And so I started out as a middle school science teacher, taught 6th grade and 7th grade science. 

From there, had an opportunity to grow my knowledge in administration. So I jumped out into the high school ranks. I was a high school AP teacher for several years, and then I had the itch, and I wanted to pursue middle school building principalship right in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. And so what I enjoyed about that opportunity is that I was able to jump into a new community, restart school after it had been closed previously. And so when you speak about pivotal moments, at each one of those junctures, for me there were three. 

Number one, I was itching to try to grow my experience and exposure, but also really dive deeper into the human condition. That's what got me into administration. When I transitioned from administration into another role, I experienced some discriminatory practices through online social media where there were images that were put out of me with disparaging remarks that were highly fueled in racist ideology. That was really hurtful. There were some thoughts about possibly leaving education. And so through that experience, I wanted to dive deeper into like, hey, how can we be better together? 

And so through that, I am a director of equity, right? To where we're having conversations about identity, where we're talking about stereotypes, discrimination, and bias. I was having a conversation with Dr. Fields a little bit earlier today about microaggressions. These are big pieces that individuals wrestle with, but it's the conversation that we need to have if we're really trying to do what the architects of education sought out to do, right, is to grow the community and also meet the needs of individuals, especially those in our space. So many pivotal moments. But finding Fields and also this platform has been good work.

Tyler Vawser: Yeah, that's really interesting. Thanks for sharing that. Dr. Fields, what about you?

Dr. Howard Fields: Well, you learn something new every time. And so when Dr. Diggs said he wanted to be a police officer, he mentioned Will Smith. I thought he was about to say Mike Lowry from Bad Boys. So I'm glad you cleared that up because I was just going to come back in and say, I guess I wanted to be Marcus then, right? And we could just be the Bad Boys. I started off I was an individual who absolutely loved basketball. I mean, that's who I am. And not just loving basketball to play the game, but I love the X's and O's. I used to coach, and I was a high school basketball coach. In particular, I was coaching girls. And when you're coaching girls basketball, you are in it, right? Well, from there, I started coaching, and I decided to go to college. I didn't know if I really wanted to go, and I became a physical educator, continued to coach. Once I became a physical educator, I said, you know what? I want to be an athletic director, but there are way less athletic directors per school district than there are assistant principals or administrators, to say the least. 

And so I had some phenomenal leaders who gave me opportunities, and they saw leadership in myself before I was able to see it in the mirror. And I'm so grateful for that. Now, with respect to your question in terms of getting those positions and things that happen, for me, it's always been your professional learning network. I think we all have some level of imposter syndrome where we're doing the job that we can, and maybe in our wildest dreams, we think we could do another job. Need that be a job outside or drastically different than what you're doing, or even if it's considered a step up or out, depending upon how you look at things. And from there, there were some amazing administrators before me. There were some spectacular administrators in my first administrative position, which was in an urban school district. But I had a chance to connect with people in rural education, affluent education. 

And you start to hear things, you start to pick up on things, you start to problem solve, and you start seeing that at the end of the day, we're trying to do great work for kids. Even though our region may be different, even though the politics may be similar, but different, even though some of our stories are mimicking one another, how are we continuing to recruit and put ourselves in positions to be successful? And for the principalship, which in my opinion, is the best position that one can have in the educational space? I was able to recruit by being out there, like in the district where I was first the building principal, we didn't have a lot of people knocking on our doors to get there, but we created an online social media presence. Our reputation preceded ourselves in terms of me being out there, and we have a number of large businesses here in the St. Louis area, and people were relocating here.

And sometimes if you're relocating in the summer, some of your other districts may have already hired. I may not have had an opportunity to hire. And so I was recruiting people and trying to do great work. And when I would ask that question, where I'm getting to Tyler, in terms of how did you hear about us or what made you come to our school district, they would all say the same thing, hey, we saw your online presence. We saw this, we saw that, and that was something I tucked in the back of my mind. And so now with me being in HR, regardless of what you think about your school system, your building, or what you think about your leadership, the unspoken word is out there, and it can either help you or it can hinder you. 

And it's also a space by which we have to go to where people are. I believe there was a stat that right now, for the first time, millennials make up the majority of the teaching field that was not previously the case. Well, there are some platforms that are still probably marketing to non-millennials. That's a big portion of why we have the mobile app. I had an organization that says, hey, you all do great work, but we have X amount of emails that we send out left and right. And for anybody who's listening to this, if email is your only strategy to reach out to people, well, nine times out of ten, emails are going in the trash or the junk mail, and that's just not happening. Look at the analytics for some of the people that we're looking at and the feedback that we have gotten. Hey, the mobile app is great because it's coming directly to me. Hey, I can look really quick on social media while I'm engaged in something else. And it's there. It's quite embedded in the natural scope of my scrolling or the conversations. That's what we do very well. And again, it is a culminating piece of many of the things that Darryl shared in his experiences, but mine as well.

Tyler Vawser: Yeah, that's a really good point. There's actually a stat that when people are on their phones, 90% of that time is spent within an app, right? So sometimes we imagine people are using their phone the same way they would on a desktop, but it's actually not that way. Like, they're really spending quite a bit of time in an app, whether that's social media or something else, right? So I think that's a really good point. If it's millennials and Gen Z that you're trying to recruit right now, how are you meeting them where they are? 

Everybody has their phone probably about six inches away from them at all times, and so that is that place where you want to meet them. Dr. Fields, you said something else that I think is interesting, right? Just being out there in the community. We're talking about an online platform, but I think it's worth noting that there are so many opportunities out there that are harder to do because it requires the time and the energy and the space and the planning. But if you can go out and be in the community, even if it's not like a hard pitch for recruitment, but just being present as a school district, right? 

Sending representatives from your school to be at a food truck festival or to. Be at these different events. I think that's a really good way not just of supporting the community, but also getting someone that may or may not know about the openings in your district to lean in and pay attention when you do post a job or just to start a conversation with someone.

Dr. Howard Fields: Well, one of the individuals I have to give credit to is someone by the name of Angela Hoffman, formerly Angela Laraka, and in my former life, Tyler, as I was matriculating through school and became a teacher, I have a love for creativity, capturing things with cinematography, etcetera, etcetera. And I had an organization or a smaller company where I would film I would film football games, basketball games, music videos, a number of pieces. And I had a few clients that were businesses, right?

And one of the businesses I had was a marketing space. And I met Angela on a set of a short film that I was the videographer for, and she was in marketing. And one of the things I saw with her, she said, I have to create a space online where I'm friends with, you know, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram. I want to be friends with everyone. And the strategy is I'm not selling anything necessarily because the research will suggest that people will need certain things. You may need work on your car, you may need shutters one day, you may want to start working out, and you need someone who's a personal trainer. The strategy is to be yourself in that space so that when you need something, what do we logically do? We want to go out to somebody we know. 

So, man, I need some research. I don't know how to solve this problem. I'm going to go to Title. I'm going to go to Apptegy. I'm going to do all of that well, you know, I'm looking for a job. I've been outside of education. I want to go back to education. Who can I reach out to? Oh, well, I know Darryl and Howard. They do this, they do that. And that was so organic to me. And so with that, how do we put things out there without putting it in the face?

Tyler Vawser: Right.

Dr. Howard Fields: No one wants to be sold to, right? No one wants that. But how do I support some of the work that people are doing? And I found that to be a strategy that's happening with great regularity. And because of that, Darryl and I have been able to capitalize on both the creating space component, but leveraging relationships and connecting people left and right. Darryl, what is your take on that? Because I think we've talked about that at length before.

Dr. Darryl Diggs Jr.: Yeah, absolutely. And what sets us apart, I believe, with EduOpenings is there's a way for you to give your first impression to an organization, right? A lot of times people come together, they meet, they shake hands, hopefully look each other in the eye if it's respectable. But on an online platform, many individuals all look the same. It's all black and white text. And we do a lot of scrolling naturally with our devices. 

But with EduOpenings, there's an option to give your first impression, whether it's through audio using your voice, or through a video space to where you can speak love and light to your passions. That way, if you are a hiring manager or a superintendent or a school district looking for individuals, you can see an introduction through video and also hear it through audio of someone that you might want to invite into your space. And so right now, there's not a site that does that. And when I think about the creativity of people and the gifts that people have, we're wanting to create space for that. That way we can bring two people together.

Tyler Vawser: That’s really interesting. The audio and video I think is interesting for one reason in particular is most job descriptions. Written job descriptions are very boring, right? No one gets excited about writing job descriptions, maybe other than me. And the only reason is because I found a way to make it different. But I think with audio and video, it's going to be hard to record a video and say, this job is very exciting because your requirements are to show up on time, lift 50 pounds and have this certification. No one wants to make that video, but somehow that's okay when you're writing a job description. 

And so I love that it's kind of forcing someone to start with something like culture or to start with the vision or the mission or why our school district over another school district, or what the experience is going to be. And obviously audio and video makes that much easier for the person to receive it. But I think it forces the person that's trying to, quote, unquote, sell the position to do a better job of that. And for those listening, my advice is if you have a job description out there that's only text, that's okay. But still, how do you make that more engaging? Like start with the culture, start with the vision, the mission, and only later talk about those kind of expected details, right. The 50 pounds, show up on time, don't leave early, those kind of details that every job description has, but doesn't make it stand out and doesn't make it remarkable.

Dr. Darryl Diggs Jr.: Right. Absolutely. Absolutely.

Tyler Vawser: Are you seeing school districts that are posting jobs using the video and the audio?

Dr. Darryl Diggs Jr.: What I'm seeing in great regularity right now is that once EduOpenings has the position, right? So I'm a hiring party. I posted the position, EduOpenings will take it, create the image. What I'm seeing is that hiring parties are taking that image or that posting from EduOpenings and they're cycling it through their own social media platforms. 

And so what they're trying to do is, one, increase their reach. Two, they're trying to hit a different demographic of individuals that are on their phones or they have received their notification. So for us, we're just deepening the well of exposure for hiring parties. What I've also heard through those that are looking for people is that they're able to really shift through all the muck to hear and see that video, right? 

And it kind of like gives a leg up to those that go that extra step to give their best work to show who they are. And in addition to that, and I'll wrap with this, there have been individuals that have used EduOpenings that have relocated from one state to another state and they were able to do that by the component to connect and then two, how easy it was to be able to understand where they were going.

Tyler Vawser: Yeah, that's really important. One thing we found in our research that we published earlier this year in February 2023 was that of the teachers that responded, we reached out to 60,000 teachers. Of those that responded, about 65% said that they had looked for other job opportunities, but a much smaller percentage had actually applied. Right. And so the phrase I kind of use, like, teachers are window shopping, right? They are looking for other opportunities, but most of the time they're not finding anything that's more interesting or worth exploring compared to where they are right now. So standing out with a video or making it easier for someone to kind of go down that path, whether that's a shorter application or just a more convincing job description, is a really important step.

Dr. Howard Fields: And I think that's one of the challenges that we deal with. I was just reading something on startups because again, we're educators who are turned into edtech individuals. So that's been interesting and fun at the same time. But education, while we praise innovation, typically education as a field, we're among the last to innovate, right? And so I was just watching something that said be consistent, be persistent more than anything and continue to push on the innovation piece. And there was a meme that was more or less like after you upload your resume and then people ask for work history, it just takes all day with most platforms, with ours, while there is a space for you to enter your work history and all of that, you can upload your resume and let's get moving. 

And I think too often still, one of the things that our organization, because while Darryl and I are speaking, we have a number of individuals that are in the background doing the great work that we're not coders. We don't have a lot of the time to do some of the other pieces. They're doing a fantastic job. But with that we're also pushing up against innovating in the education field and that does take some time and there's strength in numbers and the more people we get on, and I've had two stories recently that I felt were great, one of which Darryl mentioned coming from state to state. There was someone who came outside of the country, specifically Puerto Rico, saying, hey, if it wasn't for your site, I wouldn't have known about this, and I wouldn't have done X, Y, and Z. And they went above and beyond with their video. I was like, wow, this is amazing. 

But the other piece that we're seeing more than anything is when organizations, instead of just posting a job and putting it out there like you're fishing and just sitting there, we're seeing organizations go in now and start looking at the actual candidates. You have to turn into a recruiter. And as we continue to build our repository, then it's going to continue to help at the end of the day, help people come in and do great work for students. So all of that are challenges and barriers that we're fighting. But it's a space by which we believe we have a leg up because of the space we've created and because of the conversations we have been in.

Tyler Vawser: Yeah, that's a really neat feature. If you're an employer, you're an HR manager or a superintendent, to be able to go and look and see who else is already here, right? Maybe you don't even have a position listed yet. You're thinking about one, but you kind of want to see what are the backgrounds of folks that are looking. I think that's a really good point. One kind of joke I often make is sometimes applying for a job can actually be harder than doing your taxes, right? 

And so when we look at the private sector, we actually see these incredibly short application times, right? It's not everything, but just to get started in the process, places like Netflix have a 1 minute application. Apple, who I think you mentioned earlier with Steve Jobs, they have a four minute application process. Amazon, nine minutes. Most school districts, it could be 60 minutes or longer. And it's because it wants all of that history, right? It's like going on a first date and asking for someone's social security number. It's like, that can come later, right? You don't need to know that right now. What are those basics? You need to know to keep this person interested, but also just to keep the process going without losing them. You can lose someone at any point in the funnel. It doesn't just have to be at the beginning or the end. It can be anywhere in the middle there.

Dr. Howard Fields: I will say from an innovative standpoint, because Darryl and I have had a lot of fun, we do look forward to continuously collaborating with organizations, Apple specifically, Google specifically. They're not in the education field necessarily, but if they were, and there was a partnership with us to be able to leverage some of those spaces we have been able to create, we can do some spectacular work because of many of the things you have said. Education, we look for innovators, but as a field, we are among the last to innovate. And that is a piece where I give kudos to all edtech individuals. It doesn't matter whether you're in the business that we're trying to be in or whatever. It is a struggle in a lot of regards because we typically do things the way that we do. And what I found, especially being in HR right now, it's not that we don't want to innovate, it's not that we don't want to do some of these tools. We just don't have the time to do it. And that time piece was something that I just spoke to intentionally because AI changes all of that. And we are looking forward to collaborating. We are looking forward to gaining capital so that we've seen some of the mockups and some of the things we will be able to do with AI. 

We believe we're going to do a lot of great work and give that time back. Essentially, the vision that I have is standing on the corner and essentially as teachers are going into the stores or whatever, we're essentially giving you bags and boxes of time that you can get back by utilizing our platform. That's the vision and the visual that we have that we will be able to do. So right now, yes, it does look like a job board that's enhanced and all of that, but just wait and see some of the other features that we have.

Tyler Vawser: Yeah, I love it. That's really interesting.

Dr. Darryl Diggs Jr.: Absolutely. And if I could just add just a few pieces to Howard's point. Education in and of itself is in a moment right now where we're evolving. And for us to be able to meet those needs where they may be, and also those concerns, we have to innovate and evolve at the speed that is happening, right? So, for example, cars right now look very different than they did 100 years ago. Transportation right now now versus 100 years ago. Television sets right now, everybody has a supercomputer in their hand and in their pocket. When we think about travel, like space travel different now than it did 100 years ago, right? It was nonexistent. 

But having said that, if we aren't willing to think differently and create space, education will end up similarly to Blockbuster. Blockbuster is not around anymore, which it used to be a really big deal back in the day. Just like I don't know if anyone is familiar with this or any of your listeners. There used to be a big box store called Venture, right? They're not around anymore. Also, Grandpa's. They're not around anymore. And so I say all that to say this, EduOpenings is a way for not only for us to recruit talent, find jobs, connect with each other, but it is the evolution of our field.

Tyler Vawser: Yeah, that's interesting. I think within that evolution, there's a lot of different ways to do that. You brought up AI, which I think is very important. But if I'm listening to this and I'm a busy superintendent or an overwhelmed comms director, I'm thinking, that all sounds great. I've looked into that. It's interesting, but I've just got to get through what I need to get through. 

And I think one way to innovate, you mentioned some of these box stores that have gone under, but then you have something like Costco, right? Kind of the same concept. But instead of necessarily innovating, they're not Amazon, right? They're not shipping things to you next day or same hour. But what they are doing is creating a better experience within what they already have. And I think there's a number of kind of options where you can innovate with something like AI. You absolutely should. But if you feel like that's beyond you and you're listening to this, I think it's also like, how can you create a better experience in those things that you have, whether that is your careers website or even writing? Better job descriptions or posting something on EduOpenings that makes it just a little bit easier for that teacher or that educator that's looking for something and then where you can add that really cutting edge innovation as well.

Dr. Darryl Diggs Jr.: For sure. And you know what? To your point, there are big box stores now that have innovated in a way to where they're all doing the whole pickup thing, where you can just jump on your app and then just go pull up to a space, click a number, and then someone brings you what you have.

Tyler Vawser: Yeah, and I think what that shows and that's the point you're making, is like, you have to keep innovating. How you do that exactly, could look different based on your customers or your culture or what's authentic to you, but you can't stay exactly the same, right? That's a really good point, Dr. Diggs.

Dr. Darryl Diggs Jr.: I appreciate that.

Tyler Vawser: Well, good.  Well, what other things should a superintendent or an HR director that's hearing this know about EduOpenings and then want to get your thoughts on a couple of other things before we wrap up?

Dr. Howard Fields: Well, I'll say from an HR standpoint, from an assistant sup standpoint, we are all trying to hire, we are all trying to retain, we are essentially all trying to get the word out about the work that we are doing. You almost cannot afford to not have your job out there. You have to be everywhere just to even be in the conversation. And if you're not in the conversation, that is the space by which your competitors, other school districts, other fields, they are able to capitalize on you not being in the space. 

And so with that, in a sense, openings does also provide almost like free promo, like you are out there on social media. We do that for you. You are out there. We can see your jobs. We are doing a lot of the legwork from the standpoint of sending emails, making sure it's on the app, so that's almost like the base level. But there are also opportunities where you can stick out even further. And we do that. We have a number of commercials that are out there partnership with television companies. And so your school district, it does not matter the budget that you have, if there's a particular position or multiple positions that you have to get out there in the masses, we can do that if you are just putting your information out there. 

This is one of the because we send information to our organization, specifically school districts, about what our data is suggesting and how we can help them. We talked a little bit about job descriptions. We're talking about postings. People are clicking on certain postings that look interesting, but that click rate is very important in education. We typically don't focus as much on the data, right? We do not have a lot of conversations about the data. We'll just put it out there like we're fishing and say, okay, come to us. It doesn't work like that. So are you tracking your data analytics? Are you able to see how many people are actually clicking on the jobs that you are posting? That level of understanding is going to help you as you recruit and retain staff. That's a piece that adu openings. We do very well. 

Darryl, what else would you say in terms of individuals would need to know, specifically from a school based superintendents or HR professionals?

Dr. Darryl Diggs Jr.: I would say that openings is supremely diverse. When we ran the numbers and we looked at those that have created profiles and are already on the site, we are more diverse than any of your mainstream sites, Indeed, LinkedIn. And again, we're niche specific to educators. So many school districts across the country, they have a DEI initiative, right? A diversity component to their mission and vision. And so if you're serious about diversifying the workforce, if you're serious about having educators be with students that represent and model and have and share their vision and light and love, then why not be on the site that is the most diverse and we're very specific to educators. That's what I would say definitely to that question.

Tyler Vawser: Yeah, that's a great answer. I think one of the challenges is if you're always posting the same jobs the same way, you're going to likely be in front of the same audience. And this is a good way to get in front of audiences that you're not normally in front of. And some of those audiences are going to be from a different part of the country and they're going to look different, they're going to have different backgrounds. And I think that can be a really smart way to just like you said, expand who you're talking to and who's discovering your openings.

Dr. Darryl Diggs Jr.: Yeah, that's what I would do if I were them.

Tyler Vawser: Yeah, that's great. Well, good. Well, any other things you think we should know?

I guess one last question I have for you is similar to the question I asked before for teachers and educators and even some of the people listening to this, if they're looking for a job, what would you advise them as they are thinking about? Should I put my own profile in EduOpenings? What would you tell them? What are the advantages? What are the benefits beyond what you just mentioned for them?

Dr. Howard Fields: Well, for starters, I'll just mention one, and I asked Darryl to mention one, 50 Cent said it before, you know, when you have a business, when you are essentially making money in your sleep. Well, for me, when you are looking for a job, why not have a chance to get recruited while you're in your sleep? A lot of times in education, we believe we have to go seek, seek, seek. 

Sometimes we can get found, and I think with organizations looking, they get notified when there are new employees, is what we call them on the site. And we want to create this shift where, to your point earlier, Tyler, they're testing the water. They're window shopping. Well, you want to be in a space where you can see ex school district or X Charter school or X private school has looked at my profile, and they may be in contact because people have used our site in that regard. There's a particular school that's a smaller school that say, hey, we don't really post jobs as much on openings because we know we don't have this, this and this, and our name recognition is not there. 

But what we do, we get that information, and we're sending emails, and we're recruiting folks, and some of the feedback we receive is, oh, my goodness, I've never been recruited before. Everyone wants to be wanted, feel valued. And when we can do that from a school based piece, that's one of the things with us being niche specific, that does stick out. 

Darryl, what would you add to that?

Dr. Darryl Diggs Jr.: I would say many educators, those that are in a position where they're looking for either another opportunity, they're itching for something else. What I would say for many of them, and I say this because this has been my story as well, there's trauma associated with having to refresh your browser, hoping that a new job would pop up and that new job would be aligned to your skills, attributes, and knowledge base. Imagine yourself looking for the next opportunity because you're trying to find something else. 

And you're having to refresh 20, 30, 40, 50 times a day, hoping that this might be the last time you refresh. And something pops up that speaks to you with openings like, we're taking away that trauma, we're taking away that emotional disturbance by sending you opportunities directly to your phone via our notifications. Once you create that profile, you're tapped into the system. For the other endeavors that Howard and I are involved in, we create space to feel like we're a family and that we're deeply connected together. 

And that's what EduOpenings offers for every branch of person, whether you're looking for people or whether you're looking for an opportunity, hey, we're going to help you feel connected. We're going to take away this refresh component, and we're going to send you exactly what you're looking for.

Tyler Vawser: Yeah. Wow. That's really important. Very interesting.

Well, Dr. Fields and Dr. Diggs, thanks so much for joining me again for a conversation and for talking about EduOpenings, your own background and how this can help school leaders. From superintendents to communication directors and especially those that are in HR and are really responsible day to day for recruiting. Really appreciate your time.

Dr. Darryl Diggs Jr.: Well, thank you. It's been an honor and a pleasure. Thank you.

Dr. Howard Fields: Thank you so much.

Tyler Vawser: SchoolCEO Magazine publishes original research, interviews, and more in our quarterly magazine that's read by more than 15,000 school leaders. If you work in K-12 leadership administration or in communications, we'd love to start mailing the magazine to you. Go to, click subscribe now, and check the box to receive the print edition of the magazine just like more than 3500 districts across the US. SchoolCEO is powered by Apptegy. SchoolCEO podcast is produced by the SchoolCEO team, and this episode was edited by Tanner Cox. You can follow @SchoolCEO on Twitter and on LinkedIn. And one more thing, can you do me a small favor? Can you share this episode with a colleague that would enjoy it or post your takeaways on social media and tag us when you do? Thanks for joining the conversation and take care until the next one.

Learn more about SchoolCEO's resources and research on recruitment & retention here. SchoolCEO Conference also dives deep into employee culture and reaching teachers and staff of all generations. Learn more about SchoolCEO Conference here.