SITKA, Alaska (AP) - Three administrators in the Sitka School District went shopping for teachers recently, attending job fairs in the Seattle area in an effort to entice teachers north to Alaska.
There are currently 14 positions open in Sitka, including four at the elementary school, Casey Demmert, principal of Keet Gooshi Heen Elementary, told KCAW (http://is.gd/PjIsuJ ).
“We’re at a point now in Sitka where we are really starting to have turnover with some of our more seasoned veteran teachers,” Demmert said. “Being able to bring in young teachers who can still get some mentoring and learn from some of those older teachers is important, too.”
Demmert, Blatchley Middle School Principal Ben White and special education director Mandy Evans attended a job fair this past weekend in Tacoma, which was open to districts across the Pacific Northwest, and another in Seattle open only to Alaska schools for recruitment. At the last event, 17 Alaska school districts participated.
Alaska Teacher Placement, a program operated by the University of Alaska system, conducted the second event as a way to connect the schools with applicants hoping to work in the state.
The program’s Toni McFadden said districts try to find Alaskans to fill the jobs, but it comes down to the numbers.
“The problem is we have a greater need for teachers than what our state is producing,” she said. “We have a need for teachers to go to our rural communities.”
Teachers who went to University of Alaska campuses in Fairbanks or Anchorage might be willing to stay in those cities, but it’s a different story trying to find people “willing and excited” to go to rural Alaska, she said.
Information from: KCAW-FM, http://www.kcaw.org