Schools rush to fill open positions by first day of classes

Published: Jul. 21, 2022 at 7:25 PM CDT
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FRANKLIN, Tenn. (WSMV) - School leaders across the region need to fill hundreds of open positions before classes start over the next two weeks.

Leaders from almost every Williamson County Schools department gathered Thursday morning hoping to find people to fill their countless open positions at a job fair.

School officials said they might have to make major changes to things like bus routes based on current staffing levels.

“We have buses, we just don’t have the people to drive the buses,” Williamson County Schools Executive Director Gary Anderson said. “We’re always looking for bus drivers. It’s a constant thing year-round. Right now, we would love to get another 20 bus drivers if we could, but we are going to make it work with whatever we have by doing some route adjustments.”

Anderson said those adjustments could force students to wait longer at school for a bus to drop off students before making a second trip.

Hiring people to be bus drivers is not an overnight fix either with months of mandatory state training and certifications.

“It’s just taking time and it’s not the most prime job people want to work,” Anderson said. “Work a split shift and drive a 100-degree bus with 80 kids sitting behind them when they drive. It’s a tough job and we recognize that, that’s why we adjusted the pay and are trying to get some extra benefits for the bus drivers to work with.”

Williamson County Schools is looking to fill more than just bus drivers. The system needs food service, special education and human resource employees.

Job candidates like Jen Narcarato were able to sit down for interviews during the job fair looking for the perfect fit.

“It would be cool to have the same schedule as my kiddos,” Narcarato said. “I thought I would come and see what they have to offer.”

Narcarato said she is interested in a payroll opportunity because she has experience doing that with other companies.

Assistant Superintendent Vickie Hall said they might have to move some people around due to staffing shortages depending on how many people they are able to hire before the first day of school on Aug. 5.

Williamson County Schools has been struggling to find enough people over the past couple of years due to staffing shortages across a number of industries, Hall said, but this year has been slightly better to this point.

“We are, of course, concerned and always strive to have a full staff,” Hall said. “I think the benefits of working for Williamson County Schools are different than those of working at a restaurant kind of situation. This gives you really an opportunity to connect with the community. To connect with a school community, and really work directly to benefit schools and students directly.”

People who were not able to attend the hiring fair can still apply anytime online at the Williamson County Schools website.

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