Teacher Shortage at County and City School District

Across the country, schools appear to be dealing with a teacher shortage. Many are finding it harder and harder to hire qualified applicants to fill the jobs.

Administrators from both the Houston County School District and the Dothan City School District and they say that they are experiencing the same shortages seen nationally, but are hopeful that their positions will be filled soon.

School starts Thursday for students in both Dothan and Houston Counties with students putting in a full day.

While students are headed back to school, teachers have already begun preparing for the upcoming year.

The challenge for administrators this year, has been to fill all the teaching positions before kids head back to school.

Houston County employs approximately 700 staff and still has seven teaching positions open, which they hope will be filled by the conclusion of the board meeting on Monday night.

Houston County Schools Superintendent Tim Pitchford says finding qualified teaching applicants has been a challenge.

“We've had to consider contract signing incentives in order to maintain a highly qualified and highly diversified staff,” Pitchford said.

Dothan Schools have faced challenges as well. With approximately 612 teachers on their roster, they have yet to fill 10 positions, four of which are special education jobs.

While Dothan City Schools Superintendent Sam Nichols says that they hope to fill all of those positions at the board meeting next Monday night, he feels they may still have two openings left.

He says that recruiting good applicants has not been easy.

“I think nationally you will find that people that generally go into those career fields, probably pursue some other fields that may pay more money, be more rewarding,” Nichols said. “For whatever reason, their not choosing to pursue teaching as a career.”

And while Dothan City Schools have not started hiring incentives, Superintendent Nichols says it's an option that they will likely consider, in the pursuit to hire qualified teaching staff in the future.

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