Middle Tennessee school districts face teacher shortage weeks before school starts

Published: Jul. 18, 2022 at 7:40 PM CDT
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) - School starts in less than two weeks for some students in Middle Tennessee, but there are still hundreds of teacher positions that are waiting to be filled.

School leaders admit they can’t leave a classroom full of students unsupervised, so they’re having to get creative without enough teachers to cover every class.

Rutland Elementary School has more than 1,300 students showing up for the first day of class on August 1. Principal Shaunna Davis said it came down to the wire to fill the ten open teacher positions she had this summer.

“Because of the openings across middle Tennessee right now, teachers can be really picky,” Davis said. “It is a great thing for them if they are looking for a job, so they have lots of options.”

Davis said there are fewer candidates applying for openings than in the past, but she was still able to find enough qualified teachers to fill the openings. Her school participates in the I Teach program which also allows her to hire people who are still working to get their licenses.

Other Wilson County schools have not been as lucky. The district has 75 certified teacher openings right now, district spokesperson Bart Barker said.

“We are able to find ways that we are able to get things covered through support staff, central office staff that are still certified teachers to go help cover those things,” Barker said about making sure there will be a teacher in every classroom on the first day of school.

Barker said the 75 openings they currently have is more than usual for this time of the year. Many Wilson County teachers have left to work closer to home or moved up to other leadership positions within the district.

The other major districts in our region are still looking to hire teachers just days before the start of school. Rutherford County has 88 teacher openings and Sumner County needs 80 teachers.

Metro Nashville was looking to fill around 230 teachers at a hiring fair this past weekend. Williamson County is hoping to find teachers and other staff for its openings during a job fair Thursday, July 21st from 9 to 11 a.m.

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