Official State of Nebraska website - Return to


Staffing the Program

Program Director
Strong leadership is essential for a successful afterschool program. After your planning committee has developed a vision for the program, the focus will shift to leading the program. It is important to put together a management team to provide this leadership. The management committee may include members of the planning committee. It should include leaders from the school and partnering organization.

One of the first steps of the management team should be to hire a program director. The following checklist will assist the committee in the development of the program director's position.

  • Appoint the program director's supervisor. This person (or persons) should be involved in steps outlined below. This supervisor will also review the program director's job performance.

  • Develop an organizational flow chart so the committee can understand the chain of command within the organization. This may include the school board, superintendent, principal, school staff, program director, program staff, parents and students.

  • Establish the program director responsibilities.

  • Determine the qualifications of the position (Example: Education, Certifications, and or Experience). The vision of your program will guide you in this step. The responsibilities associated with the job should be reflected in the education and experience needed for the position.

  • Develop a job description. This may include desired qualifications, responsibilities, whom the person reports to, length of employment, salary range, and instructions on applying.

  • Launch the search for the candidate. This may include recruiting through community partners and/or the district/organization, newspaper advertisements or internet advertisements.

  • Determine 8-10 program director interview questions. It is beneficial to have more than one person on the interviewing committee. For school based programs, the principal should have a role in this process. Use the same questions for each interview. Also, allow the candidates an opportunity to ask questions.

Afterschool program staff
Once the program director is hired, he/she will lead a team effort to recruit, hire and supervise the program staff. The team may consist of representatives from the school and partnering organizations, community members and/or parents. The following checklist will assist in organizing the process.

  • Recruit qualified staff members to work afterschool. Your recruiting efforts will vary depending on the size of your program, type of programming and budget.

    • School staff are excellent recruits for the afterschool program. Seek out staff with a great reputation with students for being caring, fun and engaging. These staff will draw students to your program. Also, seek staff based on the type of program you have. If you offer enrichment programs, the program may benefit from the art teacher or physical education teacher. If you offer academic programs, you may want to call on classroom teachers or reading specialists. If you have students with special needs, the paraprofessionals who work with the students during the school day may be excellent resources.

    • Staff from other community organizations may be interested in working with your program. For example, the local librarian may be interested in offering reading programs afterschool. Or, staff from the city park and recreation department may be able to offer recreational programs during the summer program.

    • College students may also be a good resource for your program. They may bring value experiences to the program as well as an understanding of youth development competencies. Students studying education could assist with homework help clubs. Or, you can seek students from specialized departments based on your programming needs. For example, students in the fine arts department may be able to offer music clubs or dance programs.

  • Develop a job description for program staff that will include qualifications, program staff responsibilities, hours, wages and instructions on applying.

  • Develop a policies and procedures manual for all staff, developed in collaboration with the school and partnering organizations. Topics may include schedules, required paperwork, recruitment, hiring practices, wages, employment laws, attendance/absences, benefits, leave, holidays, vacation, breaks, attire, staff development, job descriptions, employee conduct, evaluations, resignations, promotions, safety procedures, drug-free and tobacco free policies, communication systems, discrimination/harassment prevention, and complaint procedures. You may want to refer to the school district manual for guidance.

  • Determine 8-10 program staff interview questions. It is beneficial to have more than one person on the interviewing committee. Use the same questions for each interview. Also, allow the candidates an opportunity to ask questions.

  • Provide an orientation and professional development.

Volunteers are an excellent way to enrich your afterschool program. While they do not replace trained afterschool professionals, they serve an important role in building relationships with students, providing educational opportunities and connections with the community.

  • Similar to hiring your staff, it is important to recruit qualified volunteers. Seeking the assistance of parents, senior citizens and possibly high school students is a great way to recruit volunteers for your program.

  • Develop a volunteer job description so you can be clear on what the role will entail. It is important for volunteers to know what they are committing to as they are sharing a valuable resource: their time and efforts. There are many types of volunteer activities in afterschool: assisting with snack time, homework help, board games, cards, playground supervision, as well as leading academic activities or enrichment clubs. Make sure that your volunteers are qualified to perform the tasks they are assigned to complete.

  • Interview volunteers. While they are not paid staff members, an interview will help you learn about their background and interests. It will also offer the candidate an opportunity to ask questions. This will ensure that the candidate is a good fit for the position.

  • Provide an orientation and professional development opportunities for volunteers. You can modify your staff orientation and professional development or include volunteers in the same process, if applicable.

  • Document volunteer time. Although volunteers are not paid for work, you may use the information when applying for grants requiring matching funds.

  • Appreciate your volunteers. This can include positive feedback, thank you cards, and recognition certificates. Get students engaged in the appreciation efforts. For example, students could write thank you cards or assist in providing an appreciation event. Also, publicize the volunteer work at the school and in the media.



California Tomorrow is an organization with a vision for a just and inclusive society. They provide resources and publications including 10 Tips for Affirming Diversity and Supporting Equity in New After School Programs, which addresses issues related to hiring staff, orientation and staff development for afterschool programs. (

Center for Afterschool Education Foundations, Inc. is an organization specializing in professional development, technical assistance and resources tailored to afterschool programs. Their website offers free resources as well as links to purchase publications, including Afterschool Style In Practice: 25 Skill-Building Meetings for Staff. (

Learning Point Associates designed Beyond the Bell, a suite of resources to help train afterschool staff. Beyond the Bell's Toolkit for Creating Effective Afterschool Programs provides ideas for staff development that are research based and easy to use. (

Michael Brandwein is an educator, speaker and author of publications related to staff development in education, businesses and organizations. His website provides links to purchase his books and videos, as well as free training resources. (

School Age Notes is a publisher of resources for afterschool program professionals. The site contains information for Principal Matters 101 Tips by Paul Young, a resource with additional information on the relationship with the school principal and the afterschool program. (