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County hosts prospective teachers
Pat Walmsley (left), principal of Campbell Court Elementary School, talks with Catherine Wilson about teaching in Henry County Schools. Wilson, a student at Sweet Briar College, was one of nineteen current or future teachers who attended the systemâ€™s first â€œmeet and greetâ€� for potential job applicants. The event was held Saturday at the County Administration Building. (Bulletin photo)
Tuesday, March 8, 2011
By ELIZA WINSTON - Bulletin Staff Writer
Nineteen current or future educators got acquainted with the Henry County School System on Saturday.
Those educators could become familiar faces in the area, as some may apply for jobs in the school system later this year.
Saturday's event was the county schools' first "meet and greet" with potential job applicants, said Linda Dorr, assistant superintendent for administration/human resources. It began at the Henry County Administration Building and included a tour of several county schools.
"It's an opportunity for individuals to come to our school division, meet school principals ... a way for them to get to know Henry County Schools," said Dorr. "It's a chance for us to look at them and a chance for them to look at us."
The tour also included Piedmont Arts, TheatreWorks, the New College Institute and the Virginia Museum of Natural History.
It was an opportunity to "sell our community and sell our school system" to people who could become future residents and educators in the area, Dorr added.
Those who were invited to attend the event are current or future teachers who expressed interest in the school system at job fairs around the state, Dorr said.
The school system anticipates several vacancies due to retirements at the end of this school year, and officials want to develop a pool of potential applicants in anticipation of that, she said.
She added that many school divisions around the state hold similar meet and greet events. The event is similar to a job fair, but with a personalized look at that particular system.
None of the candidates who visited the area Saturday has applied for a job in the school system, Dorr said.
The participants ranged in age and experience, she said. Some will be graduating from college, some have previous teaching experience and others are career switchers who have work experience but are just beginning careers in education, said Dorr.
"I hope they will remember that Henry County schools are a great place to work," she said.
Roger Naus, a candidate endorsed to teach secondary social science and special education K-12, traveled to Henry County from Hurt. "I was impressed with the people I spoke to at a recent job fair. Linda Dorr was very impressionable. I also liked what I saw online at the school division's website," said Naus.
People from all over the state, and some from neighboring states such as North Carolina, attended. Some are former Henry County students who will be graduating from college soon and pursuing careers in education.
Catherine Wilson, a prospective foreign language teacher, will graduate in May from Sweet Briar College endorsed to teach French.
"I met Mrs. Dorr at the Tri-College Career Fair at Lynchburg College. I am very impressed with how this is structured," said Wilson.
Many of the potential applicants teach in one of the 10 content areas identified by the Virginia Department of Education as hard to fill, said Dorr.
Those areas are special education, elementary education in grades pre-kindergarten through six, middle school education in grades six through eight, career and technical education, mathematics in grades six through 12, science in grades six through 12, foreign language in grades K-12, school counselors, health and physical education in pre-K through 12th grade and English in grades six through 12. She said many of the positions that may open in the school system at the end of this school year are in one of those areas.
Dorr said about 13 teachers are expected to retire at the end of this school year. However, she said that doesn't necessarily mean 13 positions will open, because some teachers already in the system may be moved to those positions.
She declined to say which teachers will retire. She added that there are two teachers who previously were laid off due to budget cuts, and if any positions open in their certification areas, they will be offered jobs before any other applicants.