Quality teachers always welcome in Carroll

Thomas Lester, Editor

December 29, 2009

With every instructional position filled within the Carroll County Public Schools Division for the spring semester, one might think personnel director Dr. Kevin Harris is resting on his laurels this holiday season.
At the Dec. 8 meeting of the Carroll County School Board, Harris made a presentation, detailing the steps to ensure quality personnel come in whenever somebody leaves the system.
I think we still need to continue to recruit, Harris said. When people decide to leave us for various reasons, we need to go out and bring the very best teachers into the Carroll County schools for the sake of our students.
When recruiting, Harris said Carroll Countys schools sell themselves well.
When I tell people about the classroom sizes in Carroll County, thats a huge selling point, he said. People are much more willing to consider us when they know what our class sizes are compared to class sizes in other locations.
While school officials are always looking to bring in quality people, they make every effort to keep the teachers they have in house. Harris said while the total teacher force dropped from 385 with 25 new hires in 2008-2009 to 266 with eight new hires for 2009-2010 because of an overall decline in average daily attendance numbers, nobodys job was eliminated.
We have trimmed away from our teaching rates as the number of students have declined, Harris said. All these reductions have come as a result of attrition or retirement. No teachers in the Carroll County Schools have lost their job because of economic conditions or a reduction in force policy.
Harris said the school system is searching in a wider geographic footprint, and will attend job fairs in Virginia, as well as North Carolina, West Virginia and Pennsylvania. He said many candidates from North Carolina are expressing interest in coming to Virginia to work.
For the first time, teachers from Carolina are willing to come to Virginia, he said. Because of the state of affairs in North Carolina, Ive talked to many of my colleagues that are coming into North Carolina and are being successful because of the lack of jobs there.
But, Harris noted, if he had his way in the process, any time theres a job opening among Carrolls teaching ranks, he would love to be able to fill it with a quality local person.
What I try to do as personnel director is always look locally and regionally first, Harris said. I think some of our best teachers are from Carroll County. Some of our best teachers are teachers who have an idea of what to expect from this rural environment we live in. We look locally first, regionally second, statewide third, and lastly, we look nationally.