COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - With more than 32,000 students in the Muscogee County Schools, having enough teachers was a main priority for the district and it seems filling those vacant spots was easier this year than ever before.
When Muscogee County Schools started last week, 160 brand new employees walked the halls, leaving less than a dozen positions to be filled throughout the school district.
After hiring two new teachers for the Hardaway High School annex, Assistant Principal Cathy Kirkland says she's not surprised educators are drawn to Muscogee County, "There are so many opportunities for them and things to do, I think that draws a lot of people to the area."
Spencer High School has brought on five first time teachers, plus some transfers, including former DeKalb County teacher Renarda Faulk, "The people are very supportive, it's a small, close-knit county and you can reach out to the people, they're personable. Here people are more supportive and hands-on."
Spencer High School Principal Reginald Griffin told News Leader Nine, "We've got transfer teachers and brand new teachers in the district so everybody brings a different skill set and it's fun to grow our community."
Some of those new teachers have been substitute teaching, just waiting on a position to open for them. Laura Clack just got a job as an English teacher with Hardaway High and she said, "I subbed and had part-time jobs and in the meantime looked for teaching positions steadily. I was lucky enough to finally find one, but it's miserable not being able to do what you want to do especially since you've worked so hard to get there."
The school district started the year with more than 100 substitute teachers, most of whom are retired or certified educators.
Griffin says this statistic will bring a lot of confidence to the classroom, "This could be good for the district because some of those people will be district employees and real certified teachers so it's like practice for them."
Kirkland added, "You have people who know Muscogee County, who know education, who've been in the classroom and are not coming from the outside to do something they think will be easy because any day, every day, in the classroom is a challenge."
The school district tells us positions in the English, Math and Science Departments were the first to fill up by teachers. At this point they are only looking for teachers in Special Education.