In 1979, when Fairmont’s founder Kenneth Holt was preparing to pass the reins over to his stepson David Jackson, he offered some words of wisdom that have guided Fairmont since its inception. As Mr. Jackson recounts the story, “My father told me, ‘Your main job is to hire the very best people you can find, especially the best teachers. Give them everything they need — the tools, the time, the support — to be successful.’ That’s when I realized that teachers are the name of the game. You have to have exceptional teachers; not just good teachers … exceptional teachers.”

So what makes a teacher “exceptional”? At Fairmont, we believe an exceptional teacher is characterized by 13 attributes. These are the qualities that we look for when hiring our educators, the qualities we train for in their ongoing professional development, and the qualities which we see exemplified every day in the classroom:

#1. Goes the extra mile for students

A hallmark of a Fairmont teacher is that they put students first and are committed to going above and beyond to meet each student’s unique needs. This requires extra effort and, occasionally, some outside-of-the-box thinking … but the results are well worth it.

#2. Embraces new ideas and technologies

Successful instruction in the 21st century requires a willingness to and an excitement about discovering new ways to prepare students for success in an ever-changing world.

#3. Cares about and respects students

Our teachers make meaningful connections with their students by showing authentic kindness and respect. Children can spend as many waking hours at school as they do with their families, so the importance of having caring, empathetic teachers cannot be overstated.

#4. Enthusiastically sets the stage for learning

Walk into a Fairmont classroom and you’ll feel a buzz of excitement. Our teachers shine when it comes to creating an environment where there’s a sense of anticipation about learning.

#5. Approaches teaching with a sense of adventure

While planning, structure, and concrete objectives are important parts of teaching, the best educators also leave room for exploring new techniques and methods with unknown outcomes. They are willing to take calculated risks in order to engage their students.

#6. Communicates well and often

Clear, relevant, and timely communication is a priority for Fairmont teachers, both inside and outside the classroom. Not only is this important from the standpoint of sharing information (e.g., teaching a lesson, keeping parents informed), but it’s also necessary for creating a trusting environment where strong teacher-student relationships and teacher-parent rapport can be established.

Your main job is to hire the very best people you can find, especially the best teachers.”

#7. Loves what they do … and it shows

Our teachers know that they are making a difference in the lives of their students, and that spurs them on to provide the best learning experience possible. For a Fairmont teacher, every day is full of promise!

#8. Connects with students in meaningful ways

Benjamin Franklin famously said, “Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.” Fairmont teachers are intentional about understanding what makes each child “tick.” Armed with this knowledge, they are equipped to draw students into a more personalized learning experience.

#9. Recognizes and celebrates individual differences

Each child is unique and full of potential. From the highest achiever to the late bloomer, our teachers meet students where they are. Each child is a valued member of the Fairmont family and our teachers treat them as such — honoring their rights, dignity, and individual differences.

#10. Knows how to balance tradition and innovation

Our teachers take the best of the time-tested lessons learned over Fairmont’s nearly seven decades of educating children and combine them with innovative new approaches with proven results. Students benefit from the best of both worlds.

#11. Never stops learning

At Fairmont, we seek to develop lifelong learners — a goal that extends beyond our students. It begins with our educators, whose pursuit of knowledge — for innovation, improvement, and personal growth — works to benefit their students and set an example for them to follow.

#12. Motivates and inspires the desire to achieve

Accomplishments are not just measured by test scores and grades. They are also gauged by students achieving the highest level of their capability. Our teachers are in their students’ corner — believing in them and spurring them on to become the very best version of themselves.

#13. Holds high expectations for students

Fairmont teachers embrace a mindset of continuous growth in their students. They believe in setting a high bar and empowering students to rise to the challenge of working hard, taking risks, and never giving up.


Research is clear that the biggest predictor of student success is the quality of the instruction they receive. According to Dr. John Hattie, professor at the University of Melbourne and author of Visible Learning, teachers are by far the most important factor, outside of the students themselves, in the learning equation.

Exceptional teachers help create exceptional learners. And at Fairmont, we have the very best!