Studio Owners

4 Ways to Cultivate a Loyal (and Happy) Faculty

Studio owner Jill Athridge with her employees at a staff member's wedding. Photo courtesy of Athridge

Support your faculty with these suggestions – so they'll continue supporting you.


Pay more than you have to "When I was first hiring teachers, I read that if you pay people what they're due, they will stick with you," says Karen Daggett Austin. "So I've always paid way over the top, especially for our community in Oregon—it's double what they would make anywhere else. It makes them feel valued, respected and honored."

Team-build When Jennifer Jarnot noticed that her faculty members were operating more as independent contractors than members of the same education team, she created a monthly theme to unify them. "This month, we're focusing on building enrollment," she says. "They're responsible for coming back in a couple of weeks to say what they're doing to spice up their classes—like asking the kids to bring a friend." Jarnot thinks the monthly theme creates solidarity and gets everyone on the same page.

Predict their needs Chip and Melissa Morris provide every resource their faculty members might need, from a steady roster of student assistants to a large CD library to a sizable, well-organized costume closet full of tutus for ballet variations classes.

Offer flexibility Forty percent of the Morrises' faculty members still perform professionally, so Chip and Melissa do their best to honor occasional requests for substitute teachers so that they can perform. "It's tricky—obviously we don't want them gone a ton—but having faculty who are serious about their performing lives gives our students a good model," says Melissa.

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