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Do you know about the Virginia Early Intervention Reading Initiative (EIRI)?  The Virginia EIRI’s goal is to serve students in grades K-3 by helping reduce reading difficulties through early diagnosis and immediate intervention.  The initiative assists distri...

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Chad Gilbert: What is Your Why?

Chad Gilbert joined the University Instructors (UI) team fifteen years ago in August of 2004. He learned about the company while talking with a coworker at his previous sales job. Knowing that his mom had told him for years that he would be an effective teacher because he was great with children, he started tutoring students part-time.  While Chad describes his experience as rewarding, he says he quickly learned that teaching wasn’t in his wheelhouse. Tutoring did open other doors however, as he learned of an opening for a full-time Placement Coordinator position with UI. He applied, went through a few different interviews, and has been working with UI ever since as the Director of Recruiting and Human Resources (HR).

Although Chad admits that teaching was not the career best suited for his skills, he did enjoy many aspects of K-12 education and decided he wanted to be in the industry.

“I like K-12 education because it’s constantly changing,” he states. “The standardized tests and the thought processes behind those tests change. Curriculum evolves and technology is now more infused than ever. It’s this entity that just continues to grow. You have to keep up with it because if you don’t, it’ll pass you by.”

Additionally, he notes that even teachers must become recertified every so many years, so they are up to date with their thought processes, philosophies, etc. Everyone in K-12 must keep up with the ever-changing industry of education. Even though Chad can’t be in a classroom to work with thirty kids, he can still affect education by recruiting and hiring the right people to further supplement what’s going on every day in students’ lives.



Another reason he enjoys his position is that as a Director of HR, he’s had the opportunity to coach applicants on how to write resumes, speak when on a phone interview, dress for an in-person interview, etc. Even though he often does not hire these individuals, he takes joy in helping them fix what needs to be changed for their next interview.

“I’m in a position to have those conversations with them and they actually listen to me. To have the opportunity to help these young adults change their thought process has been fulfilling,” says Chad.

Chad includes that while UI has grown and progressed tremendously since his start with the company, so has the HR/Recruiting department. The first being that the summer months have become increasingly busier every year with EPIC summer camp programming. When summer camps were first introduced, Chad and his team of only one or two people were recruiting candidates that worked in the programs from scratch. For example, if a district’s summer camp needed fifteen individuals to help run the camp, his team would need to source and hire those people.

It has since evolved because the summer camps are often using teachers from the district to be part of the camp. From a recruiting standpoint, this helps because the team needs to process them as opposed to recruit them. It’s beneficial since the teachers understand what the program is going to entail and know the students very well, being with them every day throughout the regular school year. On the other hand, his team is quite busy processing the volume of candidates helping at each camp, since many EPIC programs require 100-400 people to be ran through the system. This entails background checks, references, additional screenings, additional education, etc. Even though the team is not recruiting these individuals, there is still much leg work to be done.

Looking back on his years with UI, Chad says one of his favorite memories involves earning his MBA with a concentration in HR. When he graduated, the entire team threw him a small party to say congratulations. Knowing he is a huge sports fanatic, they gifted him a Flying Squirrels jersey, representing Richmond’s local Minor League Baseball team. Chad recently wore the jersey last month and it brought remembrances of a long time ago, when UI was just starting to grow into what it is today.