One of the many hats school administrators are often expected to wear but never trained to do: provide human resource support to teachers and staff.
Human resources managers provide benefit information. If a school provides health, dental, vision, and/or disability coverage to its staff, someone needs to explain the benefits; someone needs to analyze the different options and costs.
Aside from healthcare, there are other benefits a school can provide: transit cards, retirement plans bonuses. With each, there are local benefit plan administration laws or regulations that must be followed. The director must have some familiarity with this too — to ensure that the school is in compliance.
Because this can often be so complicated, I have had some board members tell me, “We should just eliminate benefits.” Every time I hear someone suggest this as an alternative to “doing the hard work” of learning all that we need to know in order to remain in compliance with benefit regulation, I become very angry.
But I keep my composure, and use these moments to explain that teachers deserve to have a retirement that supports their post- teaching life. Teachers deserve to have health insurance so that they do not have to work two and three jobs to pay for basic (or emergency) medical needs. To me, the benefits provided to teachers and staff are a basic human rights, not to mention the right thing to do.
So, I take the time to learn about, and remain current on, administrative regulations. I ask questions of our vendors. Sometimes I don't even know the correct questions to ask but I stumble around anyway, trusting my intuition that there is something I do not know. As the school’s administrator, it is just as much my responsibility to manage the implementation of our benefits package as it is to manage our curriculum.