61 new teachers come to Sumter County - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

61 new teachers come to Sumter County

By Taylor Barnhill  - bio | email | Twitter

AMERICUS, GA (WTVM) - Teachers may not be hard to come by these days, but open positions for them are. Despite a lack of state funding for education, one local school system has managed to bring in several new recruits.

With budget cuts and mandated furloughs, it seems that school districts all over the state are struggling. But Sumter County Schools have managed to hire 61 brand new teachers.

Assistant Superintendent of Sumter County schools, Dr. Valerie Roberts told News Leader Nine, "This year has been a wonderful year for teacher recruitment. We had an outstanding pool of teachers who are very prepared."

Superintendent Dr. Dennis McMahon agreed, "The market for finding teachers I very good today because so many teachers have been laid off or displaced because of the financial problems of the state."

Of those 61 new hires, 30 are first time teachers like Shanekia Williams. She said, "Even though I have been here a while as a long-term sub, I'm still new at everything and I'm still learning everything. But once I get the hang of things, I think I'll be good."

She says the three day furloughs are a downfall to her new career, but she isn't letting it get in the way of her dream, "Although the money does matter, when it comes to making a difference in someone's life, then it doesn't matter what I make. I don't do it for the money, I do it for the love of children."

Sumter County's school district understands the drawbacks of a career in education these days, and that's why Dr. McMahon is trying to make the teaching environment more comfortable, "It is certainly a challenge because of all the financial cuts we're being asked to absorb by the state. But we have tried to maintain reasonable class sizes. We made the decision to not have large classes so as teachers left or retired we tried to replace them."

Roberts added, "The teachers I have spoken with are very excited. One of the things that is key is the support that the new teachers receive here in Sumter County by way of the coaches and administration."

The veteran teachers will continue to work with the new hires to make them more comfortable and prepare them to return to the classrooms next year.

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