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Facing teacher shortage, Valley schools recruiting early

Posted at 7:54 PM, Nov 02, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-03 01:18:52-04

PHOENIX — Too many jobs and not enough teachers. Schools across the state started this school year with more than one-fifth of all teaching jobs empty.

“As a result, it requires school districts to exhaust all of our efforts in recruiting and retention,” said Justin Wing, Director of Human Resources for Washington Elementary School District.

Wing and his colleagues held the first of what will be monthly teacher job fairs for the district. At just three months into the current school year, they're starting to sign teachers to contracts for next year.

Kimberly Schneider is one of those teacher-hopefuls who signed a contract to teach at WESD on the spot. “Living in the district and working in the district will help me stay involved in the community and grow too,” said Schneider.

Schneider, a current ASU student, will be teaching art next year. One way WESD is attracting teachers is by having a program that pays a number of their student teachers.

“We have a new team-teach approach which we leverage master teachers with paid students in the classroom,” said Wing.

This is the fifth consecutive year Arizona has faced a teacher shortage. According to a report by the Arizona School Personnel Administrators Association, there were more than 1,400 vacancies as of August 30, 2019. WESD has a handful of open spots currently, but that will change by summer when they'll lose about 140 to attrition.

“Our retention rate is much greater than the state average,” said Wing. “With that said, we still have to replace retirees, the people who move out of state, or move to a school closer to their home.”

To view available jobs at WESD or to be considered for future openings, click here.