Grand Island Public Schools busy hiring teachers amid shortage

Local4 News at 6
Published: Jun. 29, 2022 at 8:48 PM CDT
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GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (KSNB) - Grand Island Public Schools has hired 87 teachers since January and still have more openings to fill. The district has seen the majority of its teachers depart due to retirement and they have been rapidly filling vacant roles.

“At that time it was just bring applicants in, going through our interview and screening process, then offering contracts when quality people were there. Our principals would conduct their interviews and we would make offers to people. We filled as many as we could during that time. The bigger issue was we didn’t have nearly as many applicants especially in certain areas like math and science,” said Brian Kort, Recruitment & Retention Coordinator at Grand Island Public Schools.

With the need for teachers in the district, most of the hires have been native Nebraskans with experience ranging from first-year teachers to educators with more than 30 years of experience.

“A high percentage are from Nebraska and we have a few that are from out of state. We’ve even brought back three or four retired teachers, and some that maybe haven’t taught for a couple of years are coming back to teach for us next year. We’ve looked at a lot of different avenues to find quality teachers for our kids,” Kort said.

Although they have been filling positions quickly, some have been harder to fill than others.

“Honestly it is more about the content area,” Kort said. There’s just not a lot of math and science teachers out there. Those are the hardest to fill, along with special education. Those are always difficult to fill because there is not as many candidates.”

Kort elaborated by saying that University of Nebraska-Kearney only had three students graduate with the ambition to become a science teacher and the numbers are also scarce in secondary education.

“We will look (for teachers) up until school starts. We will do everything we can; obviously we would like to get people hired as soon as possible for these last few positions, but we will go until that first week of school to fill them and even possibly after.”

Kort said Grand Island Public Schools is determined to put the best teachers in front of students this upcoming school year.

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