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.