School district uses a new method to recruit vacationing teachers
More than 300 teachers hoping to get a job in Santa Rosa County showed up at the first-ever recruiting Job Fair held by the Santa Rosa County School District. “We were very surprised at the response,” Liz West, one of the school district’s Human Resources administrators, told Gulf Breeze News last week. “We had 20,000 Facebook hits on our announcement. We had 250 people register with 88 more on the waiting list. But then 70 more just showed up.”
West said they had billed this as ‘stop by and see us on your way to Spring Break’. The Job Fair was held at Holley-Navarre Intermediate School on a Saturday. The district had originally planned to offer 50 pre-contract binders to teachers that really wanted to come to work here next semester. However, with the large response Superintendent Tim Wyrosdick asked the school board to approve 50 more pre-binders in case they were needed. Notices and invitations were sent out to colleges in a 300 mile radius of Santa Rosa County.
“However we didn’t have just college age people show up,” West said. “We had people of all ages and with different experience backgrounds. We had people from as far away as Wyoming and Las Vegas, and we had people teaching in Escambia and Okaloosa Counties that were interested in transferring here to teach.”
“We ended up offering 95 binders,” West explained. “Those are teachers that said that day that they definitely want to come here and teach next school year. Then after they sign a pre-contract binder we do all the background and reference checks.”
She said the school district “usually” plans to hire about 200 teachers each new school year. “We don’t know yet with attrition – like people retiring and moving away – and the growth we have been having exactly how many new teachers we are going to need for the next school year. But this gives us a head start,” West said.
She said about 70 people volunteered that day for the event, and many businesses donated food and prizes. Several real estate firms were on site to help people who may want to move here, too.
“We will work now on retention, But we think we will need to do this a few more times, probably,” West said. “If we do this the next couple years and then work on retaining the teachers we find, we may not need to hire so many at the beginning of each school year in the future.”