A look at staffing in Columbia County School System

Published: Aug. 5, 2022 at 6:32 PM EDT
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EVANS, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - Safety and the quality of education are a top priority as the new year kicks off.

A key part of doing that is having the right number of staff and teachers. Just a couple of weeks ago, Columbia County hired over 200 teachers for the start of the new year.

We talked with Columbia County schools Friday to see how close are they to being fully staffed.

Columbia is short around 10 teachers on day one, which puts them in a good spot compared to the struggle to find teachers across the nation.

“It’s a shrinking labor pool for whatever reason. I don’t understand,” said Dr. Anthony Wright, the chief resource officer for Columbia County schools.

He has been searching for teachers to fill the growing need since late January to get ahead of the local competition.

“They’re a lot of places for people to go, so we knew this was going to happen. We started early with our hiring and trying to get a jump on those school districts and trying to get our message out first,” he said.

But moving forward, starting early may not cut it.

“You continually have to reinvent yourself, continually have to go where the talent is, and that’s what we’re having to do,” said Wright.

Going to places outside of the CSRA and outside of Georgia, places Columbia County never had to go before.

With this growing need, some teachers even came out of retirement to help with longer-term substitute roles.

“Mainly to fill in some gaps. Mainly to fill in some short time substitute roles. We have some personnel that are out because they are expanding their families. But yes, we’ve only had one or two come back out of retirement in those fields,” he said.

The county will continue working to fill these positions into the school year, but the county is still fully functioning as the school year is now fully underway.

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