English teacher in training Kaylee Walker found herself in high demand at a teacher recruitment fair this week – a pleasant surprise, she said, after years of hearing about openings in math and science classes.
“There seem to be a lot of districts looking for English teachers,” Walker said before sitting down with a recruiter for a job interview Wednesday at California State University, Stanislaus.
Nearly two dozen school districts and county offices of education filled the event center of the Turlock campus that day, searching for fresh faces to replace retirees and those moving away or moving on.
Sylvan Union School District in north Modesto needs to fill several dozen spots, including one for a middle school English teacher, said Matthew Shipley as he sat down facing Walker.
“Some of the districts are not having many retire, others are. It’s really an interesting mix,” Shipley said. Sylvan offered golden handshakes to teachers to trim the rolls when times were tight, but now needs to switch gears, he said.
Modesto City Schools had a table, manned by Mike Henderson of the human resources department. Modesto has not finalized its list of openings but was looking for candidates, he said.
The San Joaquin County Office of Education needs several teachers for its special education and charter schools, said Shawn Chavez of the SJCOE human resources department. “We are looking for teachers ready to go, either credentialed or candidates who are close to being done,” Chavez said.
At the next table, Mary Kay Cain hoped to find teachers for Lincoln Unified in north Stockton. “It’s quite a contrast with the past few years, to have openings,” she said. Cain expected to need up to 10 elementary teachers, and junior high and high school teachers in core areas.
A music teacher was on the wish list for Los Banos Unified. The district has been looking for a year to fill the opening. The Merced County district also needs science, math and special education teachers, said Pat Atkins, assistant superintendent of human resources.
“I think we’re going to see a lot of retirements,” Atkins said. “For a while, there weren’t a lot of kids coming out (of teacher training programs). I think they were thinking, ‘Why would I get into education when they’re laying people off?’”
The Stanislaus State fair drew 182 students looking for work in the morning session, and more than 80 teachers or teacher candidates in the afternoon fair, sign-in sheets showed.
“We’re going to Fresno State tomorrow,” Atkins said, explaining he got a good feel for the caliber of graduates by going to the college fairs. “It gives us an opportunity as a district to talk about Common Core, their familiarity with classroom technology, see how prepared they are.”
Recruiters from Madera Unified said they were unable to fill openings from Fresno State graduates, their usual recruiting pool. “These are difficult times if you need to hire in the next few years,” Kent Albertson said.
TEACHER RECRUITMENT FAIR
WHAT: Stanislaus County Office of Education Teacher Recruitment Fair
WHEN: 8:30 a.m. to noon, March 21
WHERE: SCOE’s downtown office, 1100 H St., Modesto
INFO: This year’s fair is open to fully credentialed teachers, and intern-eligible candidates and credential candidates who will be credentialed by August 2015 (verified by Program Completion letter or Intern Eligible letter) who preregister online by Wednesday at www.edjoin.org. Admission is free. Candidates who do not preregister will be admitted into the fair at 10 a.m. There will be recruiters from 14 school districts, SCOE, and private and charter schools looking to fill positions for the 2015-16 school year. On-site interviews will be conducted. Find more information at www.stancoe.org.