Starkville-Oktibbeha Consolidated School District assistant superintendent Christy Maulding talks to potential teacher candidates during last year's SOCSD job fair. SOCSD will host the second district-wide job fair for all positions within the district Monday from 4:30-6:30 p.m. at Sudduth Elementary School Monday night.
Photo by: Courtesy photo
February 8, 2019 11:10:22 AM
Starkville-Oktibbeha Consolidated School District is looking for candidates to fill 20 classroom teacher openings expected for the upcoming school year.
Superintendent Eddie Peasant will host the district's second job fair at Sudduth Elementary gymnasium from 4:30-6:30 p.m. Monday afternoon. In general, Peasant said, he is primarily looking to introduce the public to SOCSD, but he hopes to create relationships with subject-area teacher candidates.
"There's always a demand for math and science teachers," Peasant said. "There's a shortage there. We're always looking for good science teachers. There will be some other elementary teachers we are looking to fill but those math and science ones are always the ones that are the hardest to find. We'll be on the look out for those candidates."
Last year, SOCSD started the job fair in an effort to recruit employees to the district during a statewide teacher shortage.
"We had a really great turnout last year," Peasant said. "We were really excited about the interest that was shown by all the potential candidates and even hired several to our district."
SOCSD had 57 teacher openings in July 2018, with at least 15 of those positions being filled by applicants at last year's job fair -- held in February. District Public Information Officer Nicole Thomas said she anticipates most of last year's hires to remain with the district, but it's too early to tell.
Peasant called last year's crowd of 125 teacher candidates a success. This year, SOCSD hopes to have nearly 200 candidates filtering through the come-and-go event. The job fair not only includes teaching positions, but every position SOCSD has, including assistant teachers, cafeteria workers, athletic staff, bus drivers and janitorial staff. In all, SOCSD has nearly 850 employees.
"We've expanded this year to include all of our support staff," Peasant said. "We feel like every role in our district is important to our students. We look at all of it the same. A bus driver needs to see that they're just as important and sought after (as a teacher). This is an opportunity to see that. It's an educator job fair and I consider every person who works in our district an educator."
Other than key-area teachers, Peasant said he hopes to see strong candidates for full-time and part-time bus drivers. With a district as large as SOCSD, Peasant said, they are always looking to hire qualified drivers.
During last year's job fair, Peasant said the crowd was diverse, ranging from soon-to-be college graduates to seasoned teachers from surrounding counties interested in making a job change. Anyone interested in working for SOCSD, in any capacity, is welcome to come to the fair and meet with administrators, teachers and department heads from each school in the district.
"This is the opportunity to sell our district to people," Peasant said. "On our side, it gives us an opportunity to look at potential candidates in the face and talk to them. There are some who are super enthusiastic and it's always exciting to meet them. That's the difference from just going to our website and looking at our vacancies online. We are just looking forward to meeting people who are interested in learning about the Starkville Spark and people interested in the excellence we are putting forth in our district."
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