Last year, one of Houston's Fortune 500 companies lost its top executive candidate because his wife was unable to gain the knowledge she needed to navigate Houston’s elite educational landscape. Without guidance and help in managing this vital issue for her family, she could not be swayed to relocate to Houston, even with the lure of a C-suite position for her husband. When I sat with the Chief Human Resources Officer to unpack what happened, I told him the only way he could prevent this from happening again would be to ensure that the next family felt they were as knowledgeable about the options for their children’s education as they were about their new company.
Erica Mellon’s article in The Chronicle (Aug. 9), “Enrollment Caps at Popular Schools Cause Uncertainty for Some Parents”, highlighted the anxiety parents experience as they try to navigate Houston schools to find the best fit for their children. With limited supply in both public and private schools, many of Houston’s professional newcomers with the means and desire to be selective about their children’s education, find themselves in a panic, not sure how, where or when to start engaging in the school selection process.
Businesses that are hiring or relocating executives with children have an enormous opportunity that borders on responsibility to provide support in navigating Houston schools. Local families have Facebook groups, friends and other sources that can provide some sense of direction. Prospects who live and work in Chicago, New York, or Seattle have nothing but the vast internet. Proactively offering a guide to Houston schools–with personalized consulting to find the school that will best suit the child’s needs and talents–will surely buy the company goodwill (read: spousal support), speak volumes about the company’s culture, and most importantly, it will enable new employees to focus on the work rather than worrying about whether their child’s education will suffer as a result of a relocation to Houston.
With school admissions season starting this month, businesses should be thinking ahead and making arrangements to offer educational advising for their newly relocated and tenured employees alike. Providing knowledge, support, and security to employees positively affects the bottom line.
Aisha Crumbine is a Houston native with over 15 years of experience and a Masters in Educational Leadership from Columbia University. She’s worked as a teacher and administrator in the city’s public, private and charter schools and now runs Crumbine Education Consulting which provides strategic guidance and expertise for families and companies that want to meet its employees’ desire to give their children the competitive edge in education. For more information about how you or your company can help its employees make strategic decisions about their children’s education, contact Aisha at firstname.lastname@example.org.