After 34 years in public education, I want to say what Cardinal's structured interviews have done to change the lives of everyone in the Kent Schools. My first 14 years were served in other ohio public school districts, while the last 20 years have been spent in Kent. The Kent Schools have been involved in structured interviewing techniques for over 40 years now. All Kent staff members bring to their daily work a similar philosophy: "we do what's best for students." As Superintendent, I see evidence of this student focus wherever I travel in Kent Schools. The Cardinal structured interview has ensured that all Kent staff members do: have similar beliefs, have high expectations for treating our students with empathy and sensitivity, ahd have a great degree of student focus. Not only has the structured interview been the foundation for excellent recruitment and selection, but it also has served as the basis for professional improvement through growth plans for staff members and for awareness of changes that each individual must make to be a better professional.
The impact of the Cardinal structured interview can be clearly measured in Kent. Two methods of collecting data have been used. First, the staff is regularly exposed to "Three-Questions Meetings," where they give feedback on what's going well, what needs to be changed, and what can be done to incorporate those changes. Repeatedly, staff members acclaim the value of the Cardinal structured interview as the reason why all Kent staff members have a student focus. Second, the community has participated in several five-year strategic-planning efforts. Again, repeatedly, community members acclaim the selection and growth processes for staff members in Kent. In short, both internal staff members and external community members recognize the consistency with which personnel practices are carried out in Kent. They all attribute Kent's positive reputation to be the result of a superior selection system of structured interviewing. None of the above results would exist if the cardinal structured interviews were not used in Kent. After 34 years, I deeply believe the above testimony to be true.
- Joe Giancola, Retired Superintendent of Kent City Schools
At a later point in my career (superintendent for 16 years at the time) I became acquainted with the Cardinal Method. My initial response was hesitancy and yet a strong sense of potential enthusiasm. Little did I know the actual impact and the nearly unlimited scope such an organized process and use of obtained personnel information.
Needless to say this process was instituted and used at the next school I led. Each key administrator was trained and I believe this helped set the stage for a miraculous academic resurgence in our district (Hugo Schools, OK). Within three years we raised our test scores from a composite of 690 to 1172 (state average was 1000). The Cardinal Method enlightened the administrators as to how to judge personnel and applicants, it empowered them to adjust certain decisions based on such critical information and it led to immediate and long term planning for professional development activities.
It seemed that those that did not embrace the process simply did not advance their schools progress as rapidly as their colleagues. The success it seems was partly from the process to be used on others as well as the internalization of the willingness to learn, change and engage future administrative tasks regarding personnel with the additional knowledge the Cardinal Method could afford the individual. When I left the position of superintendent and became a full-time professor at Oral Roberts University I continued to espouse the unique and positive qualities of the Cardinal Method. It came as no great surprise the doctoral level students (many already administrators) were quite taken with the potential information obtained as well as the process used. They recognized this was not limited to choice of a person, but ongoing development of the individual. Through our discussions they also became quite excited about the potential such information provided for the long-term planning and execution of planned school change.
Suffice it to say, The Cardinal Method (as I've come to call it) is an absolute "game changer" to use some coaching vernacular. Hugo was an example of the actual short-term impact such a process could have on a failing school. Unfortunately, following my departure and subsequent movement away from such techniques employed by the Cardinal Method, the school rapidly disengaged and disintegrated into past habits and uninformed decision making.
Ken Cardinal developed and continually passed on a system (process) which is unequal in how it integrates qualitative observations to quantitative assessments of potential personnel decisions. Many have tried, none have succeeded to the degree and manner that has been reflected by the Cardinal Method. I sincerely hope your decision making as to whether and how to use the excellent tool will lead you to a true understanding of the depth and potential this affords each committed administrator.
I am an obvious advocate. It was what I had sought throughout my career to bridge the gap in personnel selection. But, as noted, it did so much more. There is no doubt in my mind that this Method is a success due to the diligence, intelligence, commitment, common sense and communication Ken Cardinal was able to package into a precise yet flexible process. A true stroke of genius by a man dedicated to the betterment of children's lives through helping provide the "best" person to interact with those children in their classroom and school. For dedicated administrators, this is like receiving the gift of fire from Prometheus (only better, it doesn't burn you).
- Dwight Davidson, Professor (Oral Roberts University), Retired Superintendent, CEO of ECHOES Consulting