A good teacher is joyful, rigorous, and personalized.
A Chicago native and former professional athlete, Caleb Fields has held several positions in the education field before landing his current job managing the Teacher Through Leader Talent Acquisition Team at Denver Public Schools (DPS). His role involves overseeing the talent acquisition process, bringing skilled and qualified teachers who are aligned with the mission of DPS onboard. By developing partnerships in the education community, Caleb and his team strive to grow a diverse group of talented educators to the Denver area. Read on to find out more about Caleb, his career, and his advice for teachers both novice and experienced.
Check out the DPS Careers page for information on potential positions available.
Please state your full name, location, organization, and position title.
My name is Caleb Fields and I am the Manager of Teacher Through Leader Talent Acquisition at Denver Public Schools (DPS) in Denver, Colorado.
What is your career background? How did you end up in teacher recruiting/hiring?
Originally from Chicago’s West Side, I have worked in a variety of roles in education for seven years; first in private-Catholic, then in a charter school and now in DPS. After college, I played three years of professional baseball and founded a youth sports after-school program in the Chicago-land area. While expanding the partnerships of that company, I took a role as Manager of Alumni Relations and eventually became the Director of Admissions/Recruitment at a Catholic high school.
Several years ago, I moved to Denver and eventually was selected to the first Education Pioneers Graduate Fellowship in Denver and matched up with a charter school network within Denver Public Schools. Since moving to Denver, I have been an Assistant Principal, Director of Recruitment at a charter network, and now manage the Teacher Through Leader Talent Acquisition Team at DPS.
What kind of tasks do you perform day-to-day?
The main tasks I perform involves management of our talent acquisition team and efficiencies in our talent-acquisition process. Much of our work is revolved around our strategic goals of attracting high-quality candidates who are mission-aligned and represent the backgrounds of DPS students. We engage in conversations with other departments within DPS to provide a positive candidate experience in each step of the recruitment, cultivation, hiring and onboarding processes.
What do you look for in a potential hire at DPS?
I believe in looking at the entire package that someone brings to the role. This package includes the baseline requirements and certifications for the role but then extends to their mission alignment with DPS and a potential school. Our team also values a candidate’s skill set, expertise, confidence in their abilities, and their willingness to be coached and developed in their craft. As a whole, Denver Public Schools looks to provide a diverse and dynamic learning environment with staff members who pursue opportunities to develop as leaders and transform what it means to be a teacher or leader in the education space in Denver.
As a whole, Denver Public Schools looks to provide a diverse and dynamic learning environment...
How do you recruit talented teachers at DPS?
Our team looks to provide a clear message to internal and external stakeholders regarding what opportunities exist within DPS for potential candidates. Our work involves developing and strengthening partnerships with aligned organizations, colleges and universities, and pathways for growing our own Denver and Colorado talent to teach and lead our schools. For some individuals, teaching has been a dream since they were very young. For others, teaching is a possible career that they have just recently discovered in college, graduate school, or through a career change. Either way, it is our goal to engage them in a process that helps them realize opportunities to achieve their full potential within Denver Public Schools.
For new teachers, is there anything they can or should do to stand out? Anything they can be doing while still in school?
New teachers who are interested in roles within the district should be very clear on their individual teaching philosophy. Denver Public Schools provides a variety of school models and structures for people to be successful and grow in their craft and we believe that quality teachers should feel at home and thrive in their school environment. New teachers should also highlight their student-teaching experience and other experience with youth; particularly experiences that included leadership, goals, and instructional coaching or mentorship in the role.
In your opinion, what makes a good teacher?
A good teacher is joyful, rigorous, and personalized. We look for teachers who know that learning is fun and nurture the joy that comes from engaging in challenging content and mastering new skills. Our team also looks for teachers who are rigorous and realize that the world is changing quickly. As a result, teachers engage students in rigorous curriculum designed to prepare them for the success in this new world. Finally, good teachers personalize students’ experiences by tailoring learning experiences to meet the background, interests, assets and needs of every learner.
Are there any pitfalls that teachers should try to avoid in the hiring process?
It is very important that teaching candidates fully review the correspondence and information sent from recruiters and human resources professionals so they can stay informed in the process. This will allow for a smooth transition through the process but will also allow candidates to reach out to the necessary individuals if anything in the process goes wrong or is unclear.
How can candidates best prepare for an interview with Denver Public Schools?
The main advice I can give to candidates is to do your homework on the organization that you are interviewing with. Know the steps of the application process and where you want to teach, and how you want to develop in your craft. Each district has a different mission and vision for student results. Similarly, each school within a district has different students, families, and communities that the school serves. The best candidates know how their previous experience, personal teaching philosophy, and career goals fit into the mission and vision of the district, school, and community they will be a part of.
Any other advice you have for those interested in teaching as a profession?
The presence of high-quality teachers is at the core of the success of education systems in our country and the ability of our schools to support students to reach their academic and career potential. It is my belief that teachers who love what they teach and love who they teach have the potential to make the biggest impact on our kids, families, and communities. We live in a state of urgency to provide a quality education for all students; making sure that Every Child Succeeds – which is the mission of DPS. I welcome you to be an agent of positive change by selecting teaching as your tool and doing that by joining Denver Public Schools!