Richmond County Schools get creative in filling teacher shortages

Friday, January 24, 2020
News 12 at 11 O'Clock/NBC

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) -- Every year, Richmond County Schools replace about 350 teachers. This year, that number hit 419.

"Teaching is hard," Melissa Shepard, Director of Human Resources for the Richmond County School System said. "There's a lot of other things, you don't just get up in front of the classroom and teach the students. There's a lot of other things you have to do that are involved in the job."

Melissa Shepard is the Director of Human Resources for Richmond County Schools. She says the job is less appealing to the younger generation.

"We would like more people to get into the field of teaching and we work really hard in our community, our state and with our colleges to try and come up with some options," Shepard said.

Options like the alternate route program. It was designed due to the shortage. Anyone with a Bachelor's degree can teach in Richmond County in their field of study all while working towards getting a teaching certificate.

There's also troops for teachers. It's a similar style program that allows people leaving the military to work as a teacher.

But the newest incentive program is a combined effort with Augusta University. It's called Teach Richmond. It just started this semester and it gives student teachers $3,000 if they agree to commit to teach in Richmond County for two years.

"If someone has it in their heart to support us and to support our students and are committed to our students and our community, then we're there to help and support them to become a teacher if they wish to," Shepard said.

It will help the school system too with incentives for teachers who go to schools with greater needs.

"We do have some high needs schools of course as any other district does and we do really focus and have some special things for them to support and help get teachers into their buildings."