WINCHESTER — Winchester Public Schools is changing its hiring practices to find the best teachers in a shrinking pool of candidates.

The Winchester School Board voted during its work session on Monday night to authorize some administrators to hire teaching candidates in certain subjects while recruiting at job fairs. Teachers can now be immediately hired to instruct in several subject areas including math, science and special education.

Doug Joyner, the division’s director of human resources, presented the proposal on Monday and said candidates will still be interviewed, pre-screened and then screened before they are given a job offer. He told The Star on Tuesday that the hiring authorization allows the division to hire more competitively. It’s a hiring practice that larger school divisions in the area already implement.

“Getting the highest-quality candidates means you have to be systemic and forward in your efforts,” Joyner said.

Last year, the division hired 45 teachers, said Joyner, adding that as of Tuesday, there are about nine to 10 open positions.

“I think what you’re seeing at a global level in education are two forces that are going to force innovation in a new way with how we think about human resources,” said Winchester Superintendent Jason Van Heukelum at Monday night’s meeting. “We have a teacher scarcity issue across the board, and we have a pay issue across the board.”

Attending Monday night’s Winchester School Board work session meeting at the Central Administrative Office were School Board Chair Allyson Pate, Vice Chair Marie Imoh and members Karen Holman, Elyus Wallace, Erica Truban, Bryan Pearce-Gonzales and Richard Bell. Superintendent Jason Van Heukelum was also in attendance. School Board member Mike Birchenough was not in attendance.

— Contact Anna Merod at

(4) comments


Lets just hope they do proper background checks on these people. Because come on..there is a trend in this nation taking place. And Im guessing Merit being thrown out has brought in the low qualifieds and thus the problems we see. Its like eveyr city that lowers the bar on qualifying see a concomitant increase in police being caught for crimes.

Mr Incredible

A very short term band aid for two entrenched, systemic problems, which are low pay as compared to across the mountain and the lack of enforcement of discipline in a good portion of the system. The pay issue can be fixed, people just don't want to do it, hence the flight of teachers to Loudoun County, especially the ones near the ends of their career that want to get that high three for retirement. The second issue that makes teachers flee is the lack of discipline in certain schools and the administrators refusal to back teachers up with regard to keeping control of their classrooms. For instance, did you know that in a certain middle school in Stephens City, that the six figure administrators created a "sensory room" for kids that show their tails in class? Oh yeah, show your tail to the teachers or to the class in general and you don't get sent to the principal's office, you get sent to the sensory room, where Little Johnny can "de-escalate", after his stern talking to. They have little games in there and things you can touch. So guess what happens now when Little Johnny doesn't want to sit thru math class? You got it, he shows his tail and gets to go play in the sensory room for that class. Neat huh? Teachers put up with about three quarters of a year of that type of garbage before they can compile enough "documentation" to get a kid suspended or kicked out or sent to ENREP, the bad boys school. And G od forbid you actually expel a kid for something like striking a teacher, which has happened recently. Then the parents come flying in yelling about how their little angel couldn't have possibly done all of that and that their lives are going to be ruined because they can't go to work because now they have to watch their little angel during the day. The list of this stuff goes on and one and on. There's no mystery (except to the Frederick County School Board) about attracting and retaining talent. Pay teachers a little better and give them control of their classrooms. Do those two things, and I believe you'd see a marked improvement of teacher retention.


I agree with you 100%!

Mr Incredible

Years ago, when my youngest daughter went thru middle school, there was a kid that needed a good tali whippin. At least once a week if not more, my daughter would come home and talk about the things this kid did that disrupted the class. Myself and several other parents went to the teacher time and time again. Hands tied. Went to the principal, "Well....................he has a rough home life". Finally, one day in the spring, my daughter came home and when I asked her how her day went, she said "We had to move the class to the cafeteria because Little Johnny was throwing furniture". So, instead of yanking Little Johnny out of class, they moved the entire class to the cafeteria. It took myself and other parents going to the SCHOOL BOARD to get this changed, and only after I told the guy I talked to that if my daughter got hurt in that class, I'd sue their ar ses off. THAT kind of garbage goes on waaaaaaay more than it should in Frederick County schools

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