Teacher shortage strains metro Atlanta schools with start of year approaching

Published: Jul. 11, 2022 at 10:47 PM EDT
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ATLANTA, Ga. (CBS46) - With just weeks until the start of the school year, districts across metro Atlanta are strained to fill their classrooms with teachers.

Based on the latest data acquired by CBS46, Atlanta Public Schools has 114 teacher openings with the first day of class on August 1.

Gwinnett County Public Schools, the state’s largest school system, has 252 vacancies; Fulton County Schools – 307 openings (246 general education vacancies, 61 special education vacancies); and DeKalb County Schools has roughly 350 teacher openings, according to a district spokesperson.

APS is offering a $3,000 hiring bonus as an incentive to draw qualified candidates.

“The landscape of education has changed coming off the pandemic,” said Nicole Lawson, Chief Human Resources Officer for APS. “So there’s no denying we must first see teachers as humans, first. So we have invested heavily in well-being.”

Lawson said they’ve installed wellness rooms inside schools for the 2022-2023 school year to give teachers a space to clear their heads should emotions escalate during a school day.

Lawson recognized that their hiring status is better than most other schools in metro Atlanta and that their day-to-day operations should not be impacted by the start of the school year.

“Our schools are pretty much level set. There isn’t a school that has to change their master schedule based on the shortages that we see right now. We do have applicants in our pool, principals are sourcing them. Some of our principals were recently hired last week, so they’re definitely looking at the applicants, conducting interviews and submitting their recommendations on a daily basis,” Lawson said.

She said that they’re actively searching for special education, math, and elementary school teachers.

JOB FAIRS:

Gwinnett County Public Schools is hosting a job fair at Meadowcreek High School on July 12, from 5 to 8 p.m. The district said they’ll be hiring for teachers, support staff, bus drivers, bus monitors, custodians, paraprofessionals, and other positions.

Fulton County Schools is hosting a Virtual Hiring Fair on July 12 for Services for Exceptional Children (Special Education) teachers and paraprofessionals, which includes hiring incentives.

DeKalb County Schools is hosting a job fair on July 21, with salaries starting for qualified candidates at $53,751.

Atlanta Public Schools is hosting a job fair for bus drivers and security staff on July 16 at Miles Elementary and Sutton Middle School from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.