South Carolina is suffering from a teacher shortage and the Williamsburg County School District is feeling the pinch. That’s why district administration is making teacher recruiting a top priority.
Last year the district hosted its first teacher job fair. Director of Human Resources Clair Murdoch said the first fair was a learning experience and this year they have reached out to every college in the state that offers an education program. The team also has attended recruitment fairs in states like Ohio and Pennsylvania to learn more and recruit teachers.
Murdoch said the team will walk through the process of certification with candidates with degrees but the job fair doesn’t exclude those looking for alternative certification. “What we can do is find out where they are in the process and see if an alternative route is possible,” she said. “If they already have a degree they may be eligible for a teaching certificate.”
Murdoch hopes the community will get involved by spreading the word. “There are plenty of people who really would love to teach and they don’t know how to get there without getting a big masters (degree),” she said. “The state recognizes that and right now there are four different alternative routes for certification. We’re willing to help people through that.”
Title II Director Dr. Myron Davis wears many hats to include student achievement, teacher renewals and special projects. He said teacher shortages aren’t the only predicament school districts are facing. “There are not enough substitutes,” said Davis who explained the reason behind the shortage. He recalled an article about students entering college for a degree in education. “At one point it was like 17,000 students per year. Now it’s like 5. That’s where the shortage is coming from. People are not going into education.”
Murdoch and Davis agree those interested in coming to Williamsburg County would have many reasons to stay. “We don’t have huge class sizes that some places have and principals and instruction teams are in and out of the classrooms supporting them,” said Murdoch.
The average teacher pay is $35,700 but Governor McMaster is working to increase the salary. The job fair will be held at the Williamsburg County School District Office at 500 N. Academy Street, Kingstree, Saturday, February 22, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. bring a copy of your resume and proof of teaching certificate status. Qualified candidates could be signed up on site and receive a signing bonus. For more information call Superintendent Dr. Rose Wilder at (843) 355-5571.