Districts searching for dozens of teachers

TULSA -- There are hundreds of teacher job openings across Green Country with only about two months left to fill them.

Tulsa Public Schools has 151 positions to fill, after already hiring 188 for the upcoming year.

Jenks has 25 teacher vacancies and Union has about 65 spots open.

"We have been quickly getting on the interviews and looking at candidates," Sandi Calvin, senior executive director of teaching and learning for Union Schools, said.

Although Union Schools does not have the highest number of empty positions, they are doing something they have never done before. The district is running advertisements in newspapers trying to recruit to their district.

"There is increased competition," Calvin said. "We have had a shortage for quite some time and all of the districts are competing for the same candidates, so we really wanted our information for our district out front."

Calvin said they have had numerous applicants since their first advertisement ran.

Teachers moving out of state for better pay and opportunities is a hot topic, even for teachers staying in the state.

Third-grade teacher, Jennifer Thornton, is looking past the money to help her colleagues.

"There are teachers with families with young kids who need to go to support their families, but mine is grown," Thornton said. "If this was seven years ago, I might be leaving with them."

She said her son already grew up in poverty because of her choice to be a teacher. The 14-year educator does not want her colleague's families to go through that too.

"They need to not stay when they have families to take care of," Thornton said. "I made that sacrifice and I regret it every day making my child live through my 14 years of teaching in Oklahoma."

She said one of the main things that could drive her out of the state for work is if the elections do not go the way teachers want them to.

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