Teacher recruitment worries UCPS officials

Aug. 13, 2013 @ 03:48 PM

Union County Public Schools is worried about attracting teachers in the future. 

“It’s going to be more challenging,” David Clarke, deputy superintendent of human resources, told the school board last week. 

Clarke said it is becoming a more applicant-friendly market, but recent legislation and competition with neighboring states will make the recruiting process more difficult. 

Superintendent Mary Ellis recently asked Community Relations and Communications Liaision Rob Jackson to e-mail the school principals asking approximately how many teachers or teaching assistants had left due to recent legislation. 

As of Tuesday, approximately 119 staff members said they were leaving, 94 of them were teachers and 25 were teaching assistants.

“I think, given the recent action of our legislators, it is going to be like rats running from a sinking ship,” Ellis said. “When our best ones leave” it will hurt the classroom. 

She said it will also get harder to fill positions as time goes by. 

While the system used to go to recruiting fairs in different states, due to budgetary constraints, they now attend fairs and focus their recruiting efforts at Appalachian State University, Fayetteville State University, North Carolina A&T, North Carolina Central University, UNC Charlotte, UNC Greensboro, UNC Wilmington, Elon and Gardner-Webb University. 

One of the goals of the staffing strategic plan is to have the staff mirror the diversity of the student body. While they are making gains, there are still more hispanic students than teachers, Clarke said. 

The district’s turnover rate, set in 2010, is less than 10 percent. For 2012-2013 the turnover rate was 14.31 percent. Clarke said that much of that rate is interim contracts that ran out and were not renewed, which is true of many districts.

Clarke said they have been fairly consistent with their rate. 

Another component of the quality staff strategic priority is development of existing staff. 

Clarke said the evaluation of their staff development has been “very consistent” and positive. They plan to continue certification, finish the professional learning communities training, continue their global teacher leaders program and other development programs.