January 29, 2018 10:34:55 AM
The Starkville Oktibbeha Consolidated School District will host its first job fair to recruit K-12 teachers for the 2018-19 school year.
The Jacket Job Fair, which will be held from 4 to 6 p.m. Feb. 12 at Sudduth Elementary School, is a way to make the teacher recruiting and hiring process more personal for all applicants, SOCSD Superintendent Eddie Peasant said.
The main goal, he said, is to promote opportunities at all schools in the district, and give both veteran teachers and recent college graduates a chance to experience the SOCSD culture.
Additionally, there is a significant teacher shortage across the state of Mississippi, which is why SOCSD is making efforts to recruit and retain teachers.
In 2007, Peasant said, there were 7,600 new teacher's licenses issued in the state. However, in 2017, there were only 600 new licenses issued.
"It's been a challenge retaining teachers in our district, and many other places across Mississippi, as well." Peasant said. "So, we felt like this was a good time to try and attract some teachers to the area."
SOCSD is looking to recruit teachers for all grades and disciplines, and could potentially extend job offers to candidates who attend. However, Peasant said, the district is facing an extreme shortage of mathematics and science teachers, due to few people graduating with the proper certifications.
"If any teachers come with math certifications, we will probably grab them right up," Peasant said laughing.
The district will also begin the hiring process for the SOCSD/Mississippi State University Partnership School, which is expected to open for the 2019-20 school year for sixth and seventh grades. Peasant said he expects many of those positions to be filled by those already teaching in the district, but there will still be additional hiring for all positions in The Partnership school.
Christy Maulding, SOCSD assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction, said although she has traveled to other areas in the state to participate in career fairs, hosting a specific one for the district is an important step in recruiting and retaining teachers.
"When you go to other areas, it's so hard to tell people about who we are and what we do in a few minutes," Maulding said. "This way, we can actually bring those teachers here and let them experience our unique climate and culture for themselves."
Overall, Maulding said her main goal for the Jacket Job Fair is to be "purposeful" about recruiting teachers.
"We can find teachers," Maulding said. "But we want to find those teachers that are energetic, innovative and excited about what Starkville and SOCSD has to offer."