Dearth of educators in county Once more, school district hopping plane in search of teachers

Tuesday, March 21, 2017 at 7:08 pm

Gwen Bittner

For the Chronicle

If there aren’t enough teachers to fill all the openings in Citrus County, and ever fewer students are graduating from college with education degrees, how far does the Citrus County School District have to travel to recruit teachers?

The North — for now.

District administrators are planning travel to four state job fairs beginning March 29, hoping to woo and subsequently hire qualified, enthusiastic candidates.

“There will be 15 to 20 universities represented at each location,” said district Director of Human Resources Suzanne Swain. “We didn’t just want to go to one college. There has been a shortage with just graduates in general.”

First up will be Pittsburgh, followed by Philadelphia, Boston and Minneapolis. At each fair, district representatives will meet recent college graduates looking for jobs in education. They plan to interview and hire candidates on-site.

“It lasts all day, so we’re able to meet and greet the graduates, we’re able to set up times, and then actually interview and offer conditional contracts at that time,” Swain said.

Would-be teachers hired at the event will still have to pass drug and fingerprint screens in addition to meeting certification requirements, Swain said.

Last year, Pittsburgh alone provided. This time around, the district is hoping it can replicate the success it saw there in other cities.

“Last year we hired six graduates from Pittsburgh and that’s the only one out-of-state that we attended,” Swain said. “We felt very successful.”

The district has 42 open instructional positions and 16 open support positions. Administrative staff hires approximately 80 to 100 teachers annually to keep up with the demand from retirements, drops and resignations.

“Our goal is to get all of our positions filled this year,” Swain said.

“Our tech team put together a video of all the teachers that we recruited last year just talking about how wonderful it is to live in Citrus County; all the activities we have here. We have a list of postings ready to go.”

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