Garfield Re-2 looks toward other states to recruit teachers
After learning in early June about 80 open positions needed to be filled for the upcoming school year, Garfield Re-2 officials decided it was time to put a recruitment plan in place.
“Which is where we came together as a team to really brainstorm where we start really putting — what we can do right now — our recruitment efforts forward,” Director of Human Resources Kayla Reece said. “The good news is we’re down a little bit right now. We have about 24 certified staff open.”
Certified staff are employees required to have credentials.
Reece said she reached out to the district’s elementary school principals to see how they felt about their number of openings.
“And they’re actually feeling quite confident, which was not what we were, you know, expecting to receive,” she said. “But they all have backup plans. And they all have plans within the building if they’re not able to get a certified teacher.”
In an effort to bolster recruitment efforts, Reece said the district is first utilizing exit survey data. When staff members leave the district, they’re asked a series of questions, such as what they liked about working for the district.
District spokesperson Theresa Hamilton said the district is also using online portals to help attract prospective staff.
“We are boosting our social media presence by also working a lot of LinkedIn, which is a pretty effective portal for recruiting staff,” she said. “And we’re tailoring our messages around some of these really great quotes that we’ve gotten from our exit surveys.”
Another strategy the district is taking is trying to target outside markets where the district has found past success in relation to recruiting.
“(We’re) trying to expand to some markets where maybe teacher pay might not be as good as what we can offer here,” Hamilton said. “So Arizona, New Mexico, Mississippi; really trying to target some of those areas that might be appealing to folks to make a transition.”
Among these states, various data show average statewide teacher salaries ranging between $45,000 to almost $56,000. Re-2’s average teacher salary is currently $50,392.
The district’s recruitment effort has also included the production of recruitment fliers for classified staff, substitutes, bus drivers and paraeducators to be distributed nationwide.
“We just hired someone today from Indiana,” Reece said. “And so we’re really trying to up our web presence with LinkedIn and with Indeed. Those are the top job search engines right now.”
Reece said, however, the district does have some long-term goals that need to be addressed this next year in order to get the district to a competitive salary level with neighboring districts to recruit and retain a little bit better.
“But I think in the short term,” Reece said, “some of these strategies will hopefully help fill these open positions.”
Reporter Ray K. Erku can be reached at 612-423-5273 or email@example.com.
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