More openings than potential teachers at job fair
The Arizona Republic
Jul. 8, 2005

Doug Carroll

Teaching openings from rural Alaska to the five boroughs of New York City were touted by education recruiters Friday at a job fair on the campus of Arizona State University in Tempe.

Jobs outnumbered job seekers in the concourse of Wells Fargo Arena. Schools everywhere seem desperate for teachers in special education, math and science as the start of the 2005-06 year fast approaches.

"The people who study math in college can do math, and they know how much they can make (outside of teaching)," said Jamie Sheldahl, principal of Kofa High School in Yuma. He said that No Child Left Behind also has increased demand for such teachers.

Many school districts from the Valley were represented, including Deer Valley, Dysart, Gilbert, Kyrene Elementary, Mesa, Peoria, Phoenix Elementary, Phoenix Union and Scottsdale.

Emily McGlaughlin, 23, a recent ASU graduate who is certified to teach K-8, was getting all the attention she desired.

"It's like, 'Hi, would you like an interview?' " said McGlaughlin, who wants to stay in the Valley for her first job and was on her way to an interview with the Cartwright Elementary District.

"It's a good opportunity. If ASU wasn't doing this, I'd have to drive out to these districts myself (to apply)."

Teachers with a sense of adventure had plenty of options before them.

Marsha Bernstein, director of regional recruitment for the New York City Department of Education, said she hoped to visit with 100 candidates in her first trip to the fair.

She said she could offer a $39,000 salary to a first-year teacher with a bachelor's degree. New York City typically hires 5,000 new teachers a year for its 1,350 schools and 1.2 million students.

"For those who want to move to New York, the salary will not make a difference," Bernstein said. "They've already got it in their head (to move there)."

A tougher sell usually is required for Betty Walters, superintendent of schools in Kodiak Island, Alaska, who hires about two dozen new teachers a year for a district of 2,800 students in which 15 languages are spoken.

Walters' display included a large map of Alaska and a recent copy of the Kodiak Daily Mirror.

"What I say is this: Even if you come for only one year, if you're an outstanding teacher, it's a great experience," said Walters, who has lived in Alaska for almost 30 years.

The fair was just another tour stop for Kathy Kulos of the fast-growing Clark County (Nev.) School District, which serves Las Vegas and has been adding about 10 schools and 1,200 teachers a year. Clark County's enrollment of 280,000 makes it the fifth-largest district in the country, Kulos said.

"We start in January going to these kinds of things," she said, adding that the district recruited at similar expos this week in San Francisco and Portland, Ore.