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Administrators willing to jump back into classrooms build stronger teams

Published Monday, January 19, 2018

Ahead of the 2017-18 school year, the South Carolina Department of Education reported statewide teaching vacancies in some subject areas as high as 80 percent. 

Core subjects like math and reading saw statewide vacancies at higher than 12.5 percent. 

Bottom line – there’s a certified teacher shortage, and it doesn’t just impact one state, district or school. It’s a focus of educators nationwide as schools work to meet the need of growing student populations. 

Administrators find themselves taking creative approaches to filling needs, while also aggressively working to recruit year-round. But recruiting doesn’t always solve the problem. Teachers are contract employees and appropriately filling a vacancy after the school year has started or before it ends can be a challenge. 

At Philip Simmons Middle School, Principal Anthony Dixon and other administrators have chosen not to fill a class with a long-term substitute teacher. Instead they’ve divided the day parts and they each help fill the need – certified teachers stepping out of administrative roles, into classrooms, making calls to parents and even tutoring as needed. 

“We had to come together as an administrative team to really devise a plan that is best for our students,” Mr. Dixon said. 

Mr. Dixon said there was an adjustment period, but students soon realized he and his team members were “not just another substitute.” 

“The students see that commitment,” he said. 

Mr. Dixon said the same holds true for teachers. He hires teachers he believes will “jump in the fire” with him. He believes administrators willing to jump back into classrooms build stronger teams and cultivate respect.


Brian Troutman