Onslow Co. struggling to fill teacher positions ahead of school year’s start

JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – It’s a challenge plaguing North Carolina, filling teacher positions at public schools.

And it’s a particular concern in Onslow County, especially this year, as school administrators rush to fill vacancies before the start of the school year.

Since April, the county’s hired 340 new teachers. Many of those are new to Onslow County and half are new to the profession.

But with a little more than a week to go before school starts, there are still 61 vacant instructional positions that must be filled. Many of those positions are in the Special Education program and are among some of the hardest to fill.

Administrators said part of the difficulty is due to the state’s decision to not pay for advanced degrees.

Associate superintendent Dr. Barry Collins said he’s noticing a startling new trend in hiring teachers in the county.

“We’re not at the panic level yet, but I’d say we’re reaching panic mode when it comes to the number of candidates who are in the pool,” explained Dr. Barry Collins, Associate Superintendent Onslow County Schools. “The candidate pool is way lower than in previous years but we were able to alter that by starting earlier.”

In the meantime, the county is asking retired teachers to come back and work as substitute teachers until they fill the positions.

Dr Collins said he believes the eleven vacancies in elementary schools will be filled before the start of the school year.

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