Despite the growth in Effingham County, the public school system continues to retain its traditional values while staying focused on its vision for the future.
One challenge the future holds for the school system is the ability to hire qualified teachers and support personnel. Considering how quickly the county’s population is growing, Effingham’ school system is facing a need like it has never seen before.
If student enrollment continues to grow at about 400 new students per year, the board of education will need to hire approximately 140 new teachers and 130 support personnel each year due not only to increased student enrollment but also program expansion and retiring teachers and staff. According to Becky Long, director of human resources, it’s not as easy as one might think to recruit and hire for these positions.
“The Effingham County School System has a reputation for being a great place to work and employees enjoy wonderful support from the community and administration, however, with continued growth, there’s an ongoing challenge to find top quality applicants,” Long said. “Across the country, it is becoming difficult to find qualified teachers, especially in the area of critical needs such as special education and high school math and science, and we’re finding that to be true in Effingham County as well.
“We are in a good position right now,” added Long, “but we want to continue providing our students with the best teachers in the state.”
Long hopes that the Effingham school system’s second annual job fair will attract teachers and support personnel from all over Georgia as well as the bordering states.
The job fair, which is being advertised locally as well as across the state, is being held March 8 from 9 a.m.-noon at Marlow Elementary School, 5160 Highway 17 S., Guyton. Administrators from all schools will be interviewing to fill positions for the 2008-09 school year.
Prospective employees should bring a copy of their resume for each school with which they want to interview along with one completed job application. Applications are available online at www.effinghamschools.com and will also be available at the job fair.
Although the school system has a need for certified teachers, paraprofessionals, counselors, and support staff, there is always a great need for bus drivers, custodians, food service personnel, maintenance personnel and clerical assistants.
Long encourages anyone who is interested in learning more about the opportunities available with the school system to attend the job fair.
“The job fair is not just for teachers,” explained Long. “A school system could not function without support personnel such as bus drivers and food service workers who provide valuable skills and services.”
Representatives from the transportation department and food services will also be on hand to answer questions about the positions they have available and to explain the benefits and required hours for these positions.
“We have to be forward thinking as we plan for the future,” stated Randy Shearouse, superintendent of schools. “What will it take to attract and retain new teachers and staff? What will it take to encourage our own students to become teachers? How can our system compete with bigger, wealthier school systems?”
Shearouse believes that these questions and more must be addressed now if Effingham County is going to stay ahead of the teacher shortage.
According to the National Education Association (NEA), a historic turnover is taking place in the teaching profession.
“While student enrollments are rising rapidly, more than a million veteran teachers are nearing retirement," Shearouse said. "Experts predict that overall we will need more than 2 million new teachers in the next decade. This teacher recruitment problem, which has reached crisis proportions in some areas, is most acute in urban and rural schools; for high-need subject areas such as special education, math and science, and for teachers of color.”
The Effingham County School System may not be at the point of crisis yet, but the Board of Education’s goal is to avoid that crisis via its vision for the future.
For more information about the Effingham schools job fair on March 8, call 754-6491 or go to www.effinghamschools.com.