Originally Published: April 3, 2017 6 a.m.
For schools, hiring season has begun. Many school districts will be issuing contracts this month for the next school year and some teachers are deciding if they are going to retire, move out of the area, move to another school in the area, or in some cases leave the profession. Schools are hoping to know if a staff member is leaving so that they can hire candidates early as the best candidates are hired quickly.
The demand for teachers in Arizona is astounding. According to news reports, in early January there were over 2,000 unfilled teacher positions in Arizona, creating a very competitive atmosphere for teacher candidates. School districts are going to great lengths to find and hire teachers.
Schools in the quad-city area teamed up and with assistance from the Yavapai County Education Services Agency (YCESA) are working to bring teacher candidates to the area. In early March, representatives from Bagdad, Chino Valley, Humboldt, Mayer and Prescott school districts flew to Sioux Falls, South Dakota, to attend the South Dakota Teacher Job Fair sponsored by the South Dakota Association of College Career Centers. This job fair was selected as it draws candidates from South Dakota, North Dakota, Minnesota, Nebraska and Iowa. In addition, South Dakota school districts tend to pay teachers lower than the national average and there is a shortage of available positions for teachers, making Arizona an attractive and much warmer alternative to South Dakota.
While there, over 65 teacher candidates expressed some interest in coming to Arizona to teach. School representatives conducted interviews and identified candidates to bring to Arizona for further consideration. During the week of March 20, 10 teacher candidates flew to Arizona for interviews with districts in the area. All 10 teacher candidates were given offers and in many cases by multiple districts. Chino Valley Schools has hired two of the candidates and is still waiting to hear from three others for positions for next school year.
Many thanks need to be given to the YCESA for supporting districts in their recruitment effort. As part of their supporting effort YCESA staff organized the first ever Northern Arizona Teacher Job Fair which took place on March 25 at Yavapai College. Approximately 60 teacher candidates attended the job fair. What’s different in this case is that all of the candidates were interested in coming to the area and districts could focus on promoting their district instead of first convincing a candidate to consider Yavapai County or Arizona. The job fair was a huge success for Chino Valley Schools as we were able to fill two teacher positions and are hoping to fill a few more with candidates from the fair.
Research shows that teacher quality and preparedness are the best indicators of student success. With this in mind, school districts are going to great lengths to bring quality teachers to the quad-city area.
John Scholl is Superintendent of Chino Valley Unified School District.