Tenure by Steve Bollar @StandTallSteve

Steve Bollar is an Upper Elementary Principal of Hartford Upper Elementary in Mt. Laurel, New Jersey. He is passionate about creating a positive school climate and school culture one student, teacher, parent, and staff member at a time.

If you are a tenured teacher or administrator think back to the day you got tenure.  I am sure it was filled with excitement, joy, and celebration.  The many gifts and congratulations were overflowing.  You could barely contain the excitement.  NOT!

For most of us the day we got tenure was like any other day of work.  Yes, a few people may have said congratulations.  Possibly you got a plant from the union.  A select few got a handshake from an administrator.

I challenge you to think of tenure as a milestone and powerful right of passage.  Getting tenure states that as a school, as a district, and as a community we trust you.  We feel that you are able to instruct the children to the level we expect.  It states that you got the “Right Stuff”!  Therefore, when someone gets tenure it should be celebrated and recognized appropriately.  Here are four ways to recognize your tenure staff:

Tea Anyone?

Have a Tenure Tea.  Invite the staff that has obtained tenure to a special Tea or lunch.  Taking the time to break bread together and express how important they are to the school community goes a long way.  The Tea or lunch can be in school or out at a local restaurant.  Possibly even connect with the restaurant to get a discounted meal and have a special sign at the reserved table saying congratulations.

In the News

Contact the local paper and have an add showcasing the tenured teachers.  Have a big “CONGRATULATIONS” as the headline with the names under.  Don’t forget to show the names on the school marquee, bulletin boards, school newsletter, school website, School Facebook page, and Twitter.  The focus is to show everyone how important it is to get tenure in your district.

Just for You

Go to your local embroidery store and get an item embroidered with the tenured teacher’s name on it.  Having a special item that signifies this event will mean a great deal to each educator who gets one.  There are many items that can be personalized:

Pen Letterman Jacket

Trophy SupermanCape
Glass Apple  School Bell

Desk Sign Mascot Ornament

Plaque Class Ring

Some great websites for personalized gifts:




Come see me

If you are an administrator, take the time to meet with each tenured staff on the day they get tenure.  Make sure the meeting is private with no interruptions.  Explain why you hired him/her.  Share some funny stores that you both can reminisce about.  Outline your future expectations and say how proud you are to be working with him/her.  This meeting will be burned into the educator’s memory.  It is an important opportunity to solidify the administrator/educator relationship for the future.

The purpose of recognizing your tenured staff is more than making each tenured person feel good.  It is about sending a clear message that every person in the school is valued and plays an important role.  It tells the community that you value your staff and “…we don’t just let anyone teach our kids.”  It bonds and strengthens the relationships within the school.  Take the time to make the tenured experience meaningful.




Steven Bollar aka Stand Tall Steve


When you stand TALL you don’t think small.

You can follow Steve Bollar at @StandTallSteve