HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - With less than two weeks until the first day of school, the Hattiesburg Public School District is still working to hire certified teachers for the 2017 school year.
"Our goal is to hire quality teachers, not just to hire a body with a license to put in front of students," said HPSD Superintendent Robert Williams. "We want to make sure we are hiring quality teachers to put in front of our students."
Williams said currently, there is between 15 to 17 vacancies for certified teachers and positions in the school district. That is a decrease in the number of vacancies from 2016-2017, when HPSD reported somewhere between 18 and 23 vacancies from K-12 throughout the school year.
"We are going to stay engaged in that work of recruiting and also retaining teachers throughout the year until we fill all of those certified positions," Williams said.
According to the HPSD Job Vacancies, there are over 20 certified positions posted. Those range from teachers to guidance counselors and librarians throughout the district.
Williams said district increased recruiting efforts throughout the summer. School leaders attended to two job fairs in Alabama this year, and hope to expand recruitment to other southern states, like Arkansas and Tennessee, next year.
Despite the current teacher shortage, Williams said all classrooms will have an adult equipped with material for students.
HPSD is also working towards a new recruiting initiative this year, hoping to spot talent at Hattiesburg High School and have those students return later to the district to teach.
"In the future year here, our initiative to start growing our own," Williams said. "We want to start working and identifying current Hattiesburg high students that can grow and potentially be teachers that will grow and return to Hattiesburg."
The first day for the Hattiesburg Public School District is Friday, August 4, 2017. Be sure to visit the WDAM Back to School Guide to be ready for the new school year.