Local school districts scramble to fill teaching positions

Districts up their recruitment game

Some school districts in Wisconsin are still looking to fill more than a dozen teaching positions. While districts in our area are doing a little better, there are still gaps to fill. Onalaska has two vacant teaching positions, Holmen has one, and La Crosse has a position to fill as well.

Hamilton Elementary teacher Maria Henry loves molding young minds, but the fourth and fifth grade teacher isn’t surprised Wisconsin is experiencing a teacher shortage.

“Seeing things in the news or things that are hyper-politicized when it comes to education, and assessment and funding and it’s easy to get down in the dumps about that,” Henry said.

Currently La Crosse School District officials are looking to fill a long-term substitute special education teaching position and they’re confident they will.

“Oh it’ll get filled; I’m not worried about that,” said Steve Salerno the associate superintendent of the La Crosse School District.

Educators admit, though, the pool of teaching applicants is dwindling, especially for certain subjects.

“Science, technology, mathematics, those tend to be subjects that are increasingly more difficult to find; we’ve been fortunate to fill our slate this year,” Salerno said.

But that fortune is a result of hard work district officials said they started to recruit in February this year, much earlier than normal.

“We were able to lock up candidates, really good candidates that I think our kids are really going to enjoy in the classroom, well before other districts had even begun to realize what their needs were,” Salerno said.

Educators said becoming more aggressive in finding talented teachers like Henry will be key in the La Crosse School District’s future.

“This is where I want to be and I believe I will be with the La Crosse School District for 30-plus years, however long they take me for,” Henry said.

West Salem’s superintendent said the district filled its last vacant teaching position Monday.