Spokane Journal of Business

Spokane Public Schools to hire 51 teachers early

District begins accepting applications March 1; window open for month

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Spokane Public Schools is expected to conduct an early round of hiring starting March 1 to fill 51 full-time teaching positions for the next academic year, says Tennille Jeffries-Simmons, chief human resources officer for the district.

The teaching positions are in addition to eight or nine full-time administrative positions the district plans to advertise in March, she says, due to restructuring in the teaching and learning department.

The district plans to hire 20 teachers for kindergarten through third grade, 10 for grades four through six, four high school science teachers, six special-education teachers, and one elementary music teacher.

The teaching positions will be posted for 30 days, a significantly longer application period than the normal five-day period, she says. The larger window is meant to allow word to spread about the early hiring opportunity, she says, particularly among colleges of education. The bulk of hiring within the district typically happens in June.

"We're hopeful, based on our trends, that we're going to have a lot of interest," Jeffries-Simmons says.

The 51 positions it plans on filling in March are roughly a quarter of what the district has filled on average in the last five years, she says. The district expects to hire at least 150 teachers for the 2013-14 school year, based on annual hiring numbers over the last five years, she says. The district is hiring in anticipation of filling existing positions at its schools, but it doesn't know at this point where those openings will be, Jeffries-Simmons says.

Washington state dictates the pay range based on experience and education level, she says, adding that teaching position salaries with the district range between $33,401 and $62,955.

The district doesn't have plans at this time to post another round of job openings until later in the spring, but Jeffries-Simmons says it would like to conduct hiring earlier than June this year, adding "not all of it, but more of it."

She says this is the first year the district has begun hiring this early, but she hopes it continues a similar hiring trend in future years. Hiring early enables the district to pick from a larger pool of applicants than it otherwise would if hiring in summer, Jeffries-Simmons says.

She says teachers will be hired on as "site to be determined," meaning they won't be hired for a specific school or grade level yet, instead creating a pool of new hires that will be placed at a later date based on education background and skills. Jeffries-Simmons says hiring new teachers without first determining where they will be placed enables the district to speed up the hiring process.

"It gives us the flexibility to take people to the school they're needed or grade level they're needed," she says.

In deciding which positions to include in the cycle of early hiring, the district looked at which categories of teaching positions it hired for the most in previous years and the needs of its principals, Jeffries-Simmons adds.

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