A Helping Hand: HR Aids New, Current Employees

As CVES continues to grow, more and more smiling faces are seen walking through hallways. Each person brings value to CVES and helps the organization make a significant impact on students and employees throughout New York State. But at one point, each person’s journey at CVES started with an application.

The Human Resources team works tirelessly to onboard new employees and make them feel at home here, while also providing resources and support to current employees and divisional leadership in their hiring process. It’s an extensive process, but the HR team excels at it.


Human Resources is constantly evolving and growing to better accommodate current and future employees. Erin Keefe and Laura Sterling spearhead the workload.

Keefe’s focus is on the external work. She is responsible for job postings, position requisitions, civil service compliance, board agendas, employment verifications, rewriting contracts, 403B payments, and intake for new employees.

One of those big projects is employee intake. Keefe pushes job postings out on social media, Indeed and print media outlets. She is also typically the first person a new employee will interact with.

“Attitude is everything,” Keefe said. “How you treat people when they come in sets the tone for how they will feel as an employee. So, hopefully, being that first person they meet and being kind and understanding, it helps because starting a new job isn’t easy.”

Sterling’s focus is on post-hire work. She is responsible for retirement enrollment, position setups, salaries, buy outs, attendance, and teacher certifications. Once Keefe clears an employee to work, Sterling must have all the paperwork ready for them to start the following day, so Brenda Proulx in payroll can complete her job.

“What Erin Keefe does affects me, and what I do affects Brenda Proulx, so we all must keep each other informed and stick to deadlines,” Sterling said. “If I am late, then it puts Brenda behind, so we are all dependent and trust each other to complete our work.”

Proulx then sends out the new-hire verification to their department to sign off, and then she activates everything for the new employee. While Proulx’s role is more in the Business Office, the work from HR is interwoven with hers. They must rely on each other to complete their job efficiently for new employees to start work.

“This is a huge organization, and we are constantly expanding and hiring,” Director of Labor Relations Joe Coakley, who oversees the HR department, said. “In the past two-and-a-half years I’ve been here, I don’t think there’s been a week that we haven’t hired, put out postings, or onboarded new employees.”


The most recent school year had 113 job postings, which increased from the past few years. With the sheer volume increase of applications and onboarding members, there inevitably is more work for the HR team.

“It’s extra training for the divisions, and extra time for when people come in, but since we introduced SchoolFront and RecruitFront, it makes the process of intake easier,” Keefe said.

SchoolFront and RecruitFront has made work more efficient for Keefe and Sterling, but there was a heavy lift before getting it functional. They sorted through every personnel file to organize and scan into the digital system.

“It’s less paper, and tasks are completed in a timely manner,” Sterling said. “As soon as I sign something, it goes to Brenda Proulx or Joe Coakley, and then it immediately goes to the employee.”

The digitized HR system can handle the intake of CVES’ growing employee population, while still handling all the important functions of day-to-day work and keeping current employees informed.

“We want to champion new hires by giving them the best experience possible and make them feel welcomed to the CVES family, but we also want to maintain our relationships with the current employees and taking care of them. They are doing this with such a high level of professionalism and quick responses to questions, emails, and phone calls,” Coakley said.

HR also helps with component districts through the ever-expanding Personnel Recruiting Service, where CVES aids with web-based posting of positions, shared advertisements in local and statewide newspapers, and attendance at job fairs. The service strives to recruit nationally and statewide to get new employees to work at CVES and its component school districts. Coakley stated, “the goal for the upcoming school year is to incorporate HR and payroll support for more school districts while still providing high quality service to in-house employees.”

“There are so many new smart, kind, and loving employees being hired, and that truly makes a positive impact in the work environment,” Proulx said. “It will be great for this trend to continue for CVES.”


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