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Working With and Evaluating Difficult School Employees

Written by experienced administrators, this resource shows how to help marginal employees improve their performance and behavior and discusses what steps to take when termination becomes necessary.

Full description

Product Details
  • Grade Level: PreK-12, Elementary, Secondary
  • ISBN: 9781412958684
  • Published By: Corwin
  • Year: 2009
  • Page Count: 136
  • Publication date: January 12, 2010

Price: $33.95

Price: $33.95
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"The Ellers have done an excellent job identifying supervision problems that plague administrators on a daily basis. They provide clear and detailed strategies to address personnel problems covering virtually every employment group. I strongly recommend this book as a quick reference for all school administrators as they deal with difficult employees."
—Dan Hoverman, Superintendent
Mounds View Public Schools, Shoreview, MN

Help marginal employees take positive steps to improve their performance and behavior!

Managing difficult employees is one of the most challenging aspects of a school leader's job. Written by experienced administrators, this resource provides specific techniques and strategies to identify, work with, and evaluate marginal school employees.

John F. Eller and Sheila Eller provide essential information for understanding and dealing with employees who may have negative attitudes, lack awareness of their behavior, blame others for problems, or are marginal performers. Drawing on the authors' extensive experience, this book includes:

  • Skills and sample dialogues for conducting difficult conversations
  • Templates for putting concerns into writing and developing improvement plans
  • Information about legal issues and ways to protect yourself
  • Specific strategies for working with teachers, secretaries and assistants, paraprofessionals, and custodial staff
  • Steps to take when termination becomes necessary

This ready reference helps administrators develop the leadership skills and competencies necessary to confront marginal and deficient behaviors and achieve successful results.

Key features

  • Strategies and planning tools for evaluation, coaching, and termination
  • Covers steps for protecting yourself through each step
  • Written by experts in the field


John F. Eller photo

John F. Eller

John Eller has had a variety of experiences in working with adults over the years he has been in education. His experiences include work educational leaders at Virginia Tech University, developing teacher leaders in a Maters program, serving as the Executive Director of Minnesota ASCD, work as a principal’s training center director, a position as an assistant superintendent for curriculum, learning, and staff development, and several principal positions in a variety of settings. In addition to the work he does in training and supporting facilitators, John also does work in the areas of dealing with difficult people, building professional learning communities, employee evaluation, conferencing skills, coaching skills, strategic planning strategies, school improvement planning and implementation, differentiated instruction, leadership for differentiation, employee recruitment, selection, and induction, supervisory skills, and effective teaching strategies.

He has his PhD. in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies from Loyola University-Chicago and his MS in Educational Leadership from the University of Nebraska-Omaha. John has authored books on substitute teaching, wrote The Training Video Series for the Professional School Bus Driver, The principals’ Guide to Custodial Supervision contributes articles for the publication Superintendents Only. He wrote Effective Group Facilitation in Education: How to Energize Meetings and Manage Difficult Groups, and co-authored So Now You’re the Superintendent, the best selling, Energizing Staff Meetings and Creative Strategies to Improve School Culture all through Corwin Press.

Sheila Eller photo

Sheila Eller

Sheila Eller has worked in a multitude of educational settings during her career. In addition to her current position as a principal in the Fairfax County Virginia Public Schools, she has served as a middle school principal in the Moundsview Minnesota School District, as a principal in other schools in Minnesota and Illinois, as a university professor, as a Special Education Teacher, a Title I Math Teacher, and a self-contained classroom teacher in grades 1-4. Sheila has also been a member of the Executive Board of Minnesota ASCD and has been a regional president of the Minnesota Association of Elementary School Principals. She has advanced coursework in educational administration and supervision from St. Cloud State University, her Master’s Degree from Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska, and a Bachelors Degree from Iowa State University.

Sheila is a regular presenter at the ASCD National Conventions sharing her expertise on the topic of effective staff meetings and multiage instruction. While she served as a professor at National-Louis University in Evanston Illinois, she worked on the development team for a classroom mathematics series that was adopted by several districts in the region. Her classroom and instructional techniques were featured on a video that was produced as a complement to this series. She works with educators in developing energized staff meetings, school improvement initiatives, multiage teaching strategies, employee supervision, and other teaching and learning content areas. In addition to this book, Sheila co-authored the best-selling Energizing Staff Meetings and Creative Strategies to Improve School Climate. through Corwin Press.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents


About the Authors

1. The Nature of Difficult/Marginal Employees: Why Don't These People Listen to Reason and Improve?

Frames of Reference

Characteristics of Difficult Employees

The Response to Change

Understanding the Source of the Difficulty


2. What Skills and Tools Do I Need in Order to Take On This Situation?

Background of Employee Discipline

A Competencies-Based Approach to Thinking About Employee Problems

The Definition of Success When Working With Difficult or Deficient Employees

Your Readiness in Dealing With a Difficult Situation or Person

The Use of Job Descriptions in Your Work With Difficult School Employees


3. Strategies for Confronting Marginal and Deficient Behaviors


Authority Voice


4. Protecting Yourself While Dealing With Difficult Employees



Displacing Negative Energy

Additional Self-Protection Strategies


5. Strategies for Working With Difficult/Marginal Teachers

The Law and Teacher Employment

Your Master Contract or Master Agreement

Understanding Your Evaluation Criteria

The Ability to Describe Deficient or Substandard Work

Base and Surface Competancies

Deciding Whether to Move Forward to Terminate Employment or Develop a Growth Plan

Growth Plans

Delivering a Deficiency Notice or Termination Message to a Teacher

The Entire Cycle


6. Strategies for Working with Difficult/Marginal Secretaries and Office

Handling Your Administrative Assistants

A Basic Set of Administrative Assistant/Office Employee Tasks

Base and Surface Competancies

Prioritizing Work Tasks

Planning Sessions to Establish Priorities for the Work Completion

Growth Plans

Delivering a Deficiency Notice or Termination Message to an Administrative Assistant


7. Strategies for Working with Difficult/Marginal Paraprofessionals and Teaching Assistants

The Nature of Teaching Assistants and Paraprofessionals

Base and Surface Competancies

Growth Plans

Delivering a Performance Concern or Termination Message to a Paraprofessional or Teaching Assistant

An Example of a Meeting and Letter of Reprimand for a Paraprofessional


8. Strategies for Working with Difficult/Marginal Custodians

Possible Difficult Custodial Behaviors

Effective Delegation of Tasks and Assignments

Base and Surface Competancies

Growth Plans

Delivering a Performance or Skill Deficit Concern to a Custodial Employee






Price: $33.95
Volume Discounts applied in Shopping Cart

For Instructors

Request Review Copy

When you select 'request review copy', you will be redirected to Sage Publishing (our parent site) to process your request.