Students in the education program at Kentucky State University had a unique opportunity to network with experienced school administrators and possible future employers during an event at the campus recently. 

Nearly 20 administrators from 10 school districts were on hand to answer questions, offer advice and network with Kentucky State University education students at the event entitled Go Out to Serve.

Dr. Jo Anne Rainey, chair of the School of Education at Kentucky State, moderated the discussion panel, which addressed topics such as what administrators were looking for in a new teacher, how to prepare for a job search and which skills are the most important to highlight during the interview process.

“Our students leave here passionate and culturally competent,” Rainey said.

Jose Alfaro, recruiter for Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS), emphasized that teachers must have passion for helping students if they hope to be effective in their careers.

Passion for helping students, impacting lives and customer service were common qualities cited as keys to success in the field.

Darryl Thompson, a Kentucky State University alumnus and acting equity officer in Fayette County Public Schools (FCPS), emphasized dressing professionally for job interviews and networking events.

Others emphasized researching a potential employer before the interview. Studying the school’s report card and data, as well as identifying ways to help boost the school’s weakest areas were listed as surefire ways to make a good impression.

This marked the first year the event grew to target a larger audience. Past events were specifically held for student teachers. However, this year all students in the education program were invited to attend. Approximately 10 student-teachers participated and had the opportunity to network afterward.

“These are the professionals you want to meet,” Rainey told the students. “They’re here to meet you. They want to meet you.”

Kentucky State senior Jalen Brown was one of the student-teachers in attendance.

“I really enjoyed the event,” Brown said. “I feel like the information I received will really help out in the (near) future, especially when applying for a job. It was also very nice to be able to talk with actually recruiters from different school districts.”

Community partners represented a diverse range of school districts, including urban, rural, large and small.

“You put our students at ease and you showed them, from freshman to graduating seniors, that they are well supported and valued, as they move toward their chosen careers,” Rainey said.