Bay District Schools Struggle to Hire Academy Instructors

BAY COUNTY, Fla. - Bay District High Schools are offering several new Career and Technical Education (CTE) Academies this year. They help students get ahead in their chosen career paths with certifications and practical experience.

Principals, however, are struggling to find qualified instructors to teach them.

"The people who have that kind of skill are usually building supervisors, building contractors, and they make a lot more money building houses than they do teaching students so it's difficult," Principal Coy Pilson said, for example, about his Construction Academy at Rutherford High School.

Pilson recently hired Edwin Mills to teach the Manufacturing classes but that left a tough-to-fill vacancy at a district middle school.

The former instructor left the position when he was offered a six-figure salary in the private sector.

"All schools are having a really hard time finding teachers with certain technical skills," Pilson said.

It's not just a problem in the district. Hundreds of districts nationwide are grappling with a growing teacher shortage, especially in math, science and special education.

"Math and science in particular are shortage areas across the country because people can use those math and science skills in career fields where they can get paid more," said John Cannon, incoming Human Resource Director.

The district has a Teacher Recruitment Task Force, but the Learning Policy Institute estimates that if trends continue, there could be a nationwide shortfall of 112,000 teachers by next year.

"School principals and district level administrators attend job fairs and just get together monthly to brainstorm ideas and strategies to get good people into the field," Cannon said.

"I tell them you're not going to be a multi-millionaire. You're not going to own a private jet, but you are going to touch the lives and impact the lives of others," Pilson said about recruitment.

As of this week, the district still needed to fill 14 teaching positions across different grades and subject areas.

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