Saturday, November 17, 2018

Seeking to fill open teaching spots, Pasco schools turn to past applicants who didn’t get hired

Pasco County schools still had 88 teacher vacancies Tuesday morning, a number superintendent Kurt Browning told the School Board was better than past years, but not good enough.

"We're not where we need to be," Browning said, stressing his desire to have every classroom staffed by a certified teacher by the time students arrive Monday.

Within hours, the district Human Relations department had come up with a plan to fill many of those spots. Over the past months, it had vetted hundreds of people for positions, and of course not all of them got hired.

But they might still be available, HR director Christine Pejot reasoned.

So the staff went through its computerized files, searching for applicants who met all the qualifications but for whatever reason did not get a position. And it invited them to the district office for an interview on Thursday, with the possibility of having an offer in hand within hours.

"We don't want to let good teachers slip through the cracks," Pejot said.

More than 700 invitations went out, and by Wednesday afternoon about 45 educators had signed up for a time slot. A district team will meet with the candidates, and then possibly refer them to principals who still have openings, Browning said.

"Our goal is to have them in place in classrooms on Monday," he said.

The effort is focusing on 15 elementary schools, and also on special education jobs. Pejot said she was hopeful the initiative would generate some matches.

"It's important for kids too have (permanent) teachers in the classroom on the first day," she said.

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