VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. — For interim Superintendent Tim Egnor, making sure there are teachers in all Volusia County Classrooms has been a top priority this summer.
- Teacher vacancies down by over 100 in two months
- Issue is finding fully certified educators
- Interim Superintendent: First priority is getting elementary schools fully staffed
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"Due to teacher shortages and things of that nature, we had an awful lot of classrooms that had substitutes and frequently we had them for way too long," said Egnor.
When he took over in June, the need to hire more teachers was huge.
"When I entered, I believe there were somewhere in the neighborhood of 230 vacancies open," said Egnor.
According to school staff, this is not an isolated issue.
"It's not just a Volusia problem, it's a worldwide problem, but we worry about Volusia," said Interim Chief Academic Officer Rachel Hazel.
School districts, such as Volusia, have a hard time finding the right teachers to fit their needs.
"We often have trouble finding fully certified exceptional student educators," said Egnor. "We often have trouble finding fully certified math teachers. These are the typical areas which really every district is trying to fight over those qualified people."
Despite that, Volusia County schools are making progress with the number of open teaching positions down to around 120.
However, they hope to have that number down to zero as fast as possible.
"iPads don't teach kids, computers don't teach kids, books on a shelf don't teach kids, but teachers teach kids. That is who is going to make the difference in our classrooms," said Hazel.
However, the county won't rush their search simply to fill positions.
"You might be able to find somebody who is technically qualified but the interview process and our needs are such that we put the student first. And so that makes it doubly hard because we don't want just anyone, we want the right person," said Egnor.
While the teacher vacancies are spread across all grade levels, Egnor says their first priority is getting the elementary schools fully staffed, as he believes those teachers form the foundation of a student's education.