County Schools Feeling Brunt Of Teacher Shortage, Recruiter Says

Thursday, November 16, 2017

A teacher recruiter says Hamilton County is feeling the brunt of the nationwide teacher shortage.

Erin Harrell, county school recruitment and field experience coordinator since June, said, "The teacher shortage is affecting us."

She said there is especially a shortage of special education and math and science teachers.

The school system currently has three vacancies for speech and language pathologists.

Ms. Harrell said local schools "are not providing enough" teachers to fill available county school posts.

Most of those new teachers locally come from UTC and Lee University programs.

She said the county schools will need 300 new hires for the 2018 school year.

Hiring for the current school year included 312 teachers, with 150 of those brand new.

Ms. Harrell said the system is making plans for strategic recruitment and she has already visited Vanderbilt, Tennessee Tech and ETSU.

"We will need to look outside of Hamilton County" to obtain some of the needed teachers, she said.

Another strategy will be early hiring - "trying to get them first."

Ms. Harrell said Tennessee colleges are not provide diverse teacher candidates. She said, "They are overwhelmingly female and overwhelmingly white."

She said her office will need to go out of state to seek minority candidates - with visits planned to several Alabama and Georgia schools.


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