JPS fills teacher vacancies, welcoming dozens of international teachers

Published: Aug. 1, 2023 at 6:24 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Next week, Jackson Public School classes start, and the district is ahead of pace in filling teacher vacancies. JPS is beginning the year with open positions, but officials say they are on track to have qualified educators ready to provide instruction.

Tuesday was day two of the workshop for first-time and returning Jackson Public School teachers inside the Murrah High School library. Some in the room were filling vacancies that are currently listed in the district.

The director of recruitment said they are just 10 percent away from filling the needed 1,500 teaching positions. On Tuesday, 12 new teachers were processed to start classes.

“Currently, we are recruiting about 37 international teachers for this upcoming school year,” said Jackson Public School’s Director of Recruitment, Dr. Tommy Nalls Jr., PhD. “Twenty-six are to address high school math and science, and then we have 10 that are addressing middle school mathematics needs. Then we have one for elementary placement.”

According to district officials, the teacher shortage is a state and nationwide issue, but they are on pace to have certified teachers for needed areas like special education, math, and science.

“I was on the high school level, but I went back down to the middle school level, trying to catch them early,” said Science and Robotics teacher Omega Hart. The Jackson native is returning to the classroom at Northwest Middle School. He wants his students to be prepared for STEM careers. “I just wanted to make sure that I was one of those individuals that provided those opportunities,” said Hart. “I come from a family of educators, so with me being from a family of educators, I know what a good education looks like.”

“We’re currently staffed for a teaching position at about 90 percent,” added Nalls. “So we’re just a tick higher than where we normally are at this time of year.”

JPS classes begin Monday, August 7.

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