New Faculty Compensation Model

Introducing a New Model for Faculty Compensation

Schools are facing a metamorphosis in the fallout of the pandemic involving teacher pay. Innovative schools have led the way toward a new faculty compensation model. Here’s a look at how Graland Country Day School in Denver, Colorado, has pioneered a new model that improves the education system for teachers and students.

Need to Update Faculty Pay

Two huge challenges facing schools across America are recruiting quality personnel and providing them with sufficient compensation. Independent schools have had a difficult time in the past decade attracting desirable talent and rewarding them with a competitive wage. A nationwide teacher shortage began before the pandemic, which worsened the situation.

Teachers have become exhausted with the current education system, as many have families to support. The rising cost of living has caused many educators to consider other careers.

A New Solution

Graland Country Day School began rethinking its salary structure in 2017. A former teacher and now top administrator, Josh Cobb, noted an article called “The Search for True Innovation” in the Spring 2017 issue of Independent School magazine. The article questioned the tradition of using education and experience to shape salary levels.

Cobb believed an effective new faculty pay model needs flexibility with a strong emphasis on improving teaching. This view is supported by National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) President Pat Bassett. Graland secured $10 million in funding from donors in 2018 to introduce a new pay structure. Here are the steps Cobb’s school took:

  • 9% tuition increase
  • recruit and retain quality teachers
  • offer teachers better compensation
  • compensation is based more on daily teaching contributions than education or experience

Power of Teaching Spheres

A new faculty compensation model can be illustrated with spheres that list teacher background attributes relating to the pay scale. Here are the four teaching spheres established at Graland Country Day School for the 2019-2020 school year with notable success:

  1. Professional: Ability to create a purposeful atmosphere for learning
  2. Distinguished: Seasoned expertise with extra experience
  3. Influential: Contributors to the growth of educational colleagues
  4. Transformative: Exceptional teachers who cause and sustain positive change


Rigid scaled salary systems are not attractive to teachers looking to increase their income over time. They also lower the quality of education. Consequently, schools must create a new faculty compensation model to attract talented teachers.

Contact the experts at McKnight Associates, Inc. for more information on improving your college, university, or other organization.