Connecticut Early Education
Guidance, Leadership, Support
Hiring an Education Consultant
Hiring an education consultant requires more than asking someone who meets the minimum qualifications to sign off on a license application. Ideally, it will develop into a long-term, trusting, collaborative relationship focused on program development. Both consultant and operator need to agree to the extent and terms of service and together create a realistic plan that meets regulations and fulfills the expectations of both parties. An interview with more than one consultant is desirable, approaching the opportunity for a working relationship much like hiring for any other position. The following five components of an introductory meeting cover the basic information exhange necessary for consultants and operators to make a decision on “good fit.” Both parties need to feel comfortable after reflection over the information learned.
1. Interview – The operator will:
- Learn the background, experience, areas of expertise, and level of education of the consultant
- Learn about the connections the consultant has to resources, professional associations, and agencies that support consultation
- Share the philosophy and mission of the program
- Learn the educational philosophy and orientation of the consultant
- Share the goals of the program for improvement and development
- Share the needs of the staff in professional development
- Identify conflicts of interest between the consultant and the program
2. Tour of the Facility – The consultant will:
- Observe classroom environments in operation
- Observe additional facilities such as playgrounds, common activity areas, meeting and staff spaces.
3. Overview of the Educational Program – The operator will:
- Share the center’s curriculum framework and approach
- Share documentation and assessment procedures used
- Explain policies and procedures that affect the educational program
4. Administrative Overview – The consultant will:
- Learn who operates the program and the role they have in the administration of the program
- Learn the role of the director, head teacher, and others in an administrative/supervisory role with whom there will be contact
- Explain the terms of a consultation contract, describe services and conditions, limitations, insurance, fees, etc.
- Outline a preliminary plan for the use of the consultant including reference to regulations, operator expectations, or 3rd party requirements
5. Reflecting on the Introductory Meeting - Questions that operator and consultant should consider:
- Do the consultant and operator understand and accept each other’s philosophy and share a common vision?
- Does the consultant have the skills and expertise necessary to fulfill the goals for improvement this program has?
- Does the consultant have adequate networks and resources to support and enrich the consultation process?
- Is there a conflict of interest in terms of competing programs, funding sources, or relationships?
- Can the consultant work comfortably at the level of quality where this program functions and have realistic
expectations for improvement?
- Does the consultant understand the educational program and have experience with the curriculum, approach, and assessment procedures used?
- Does the consultant understand and feel they would be effective with the cultures and community this program
- Does the consultant communicate well with the operator? Was the meeting productive and comfortable?
- Does the consultant and operator share a vision or common plan for the program?
- Is there understanding and agreement on terms of the contract and expectations, including where they are required by a 3rd party?
- Will the consultant have a relationship with all parties involved in the administration/operation of the program? If not, how will that impact progress or success?