EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

July 31, 2013

Districts having no trouble hiring school employees

By Alex Lippa

---- — The first day of school is still about a month away, but most school districts are putting the final touches on their staff for the 2013-2014 school year.

Superintendents said they only have a few positions vacant and have had little trouble hiring this summer.

“We’re in very good shape,” Londonderry superintendent Nate Greenberg said. “We have only one position to fill right now.”

Greenberg said he got a head start on a couple of positions.

“With administrative positions, my goal was to hire someone before school closed for the summer,” he said.

Greenberg hired Sharon Putney as principal of Matthew Thornton School to replace the retiring Carol Mack in May.

Others have seen no shortage of applicants for the positions they had open this summer.

“I think that statewide declining enrollment and budget cuts has resulted in a lot of teachers looking for jobs,” Sanborn Superintendent Brian Blake said.

Blake said the most difficult part is dealing with unexpected resignations in the middle of summer.

“That’s generally pretty typical,” he said. “People are moving out of state with their spouses and you can’t control that.”

New Windham Superintendent Winfried Feneberg said most of his staff is in place and getting ready for the new year.

“It’s been a smooth process,” he said. “Most of our hires have been on a district level because of our split from Pelham.”

Judith Fillion, director of the division of program support with the New Hampshire Department of Education, said the state generally sees a few trends when it comes to hiring teachers.

“Hiring chemistry and physics teachers tend to be the hardest,” she said. “We actively work with colleges to try and find incentives to go into teaching those subjects. We offer nontraditional routes which allows someone to work while receiving their certification.”

But other positions attract many qualified applicants.

“There is never a shortage on elementary school teachers,” Fillion said.

Typically, superintendents like to mix up hiring internal and external candidates.

“I think there are benefits to finding someone from outside the system,” Salem superintendent Michael Delahanty said. “There is a fresh perspective, where things can begin to be stale after a while, but it’s also a tremendous advantage to have signficant people in the wings.”

Delahanty said there are no openings in his district, an improvement on years past.

“We’ve had a full contingent since the third week of July,” he said.

Blake said he’s had a lower turnover of staff this year, which he sees as a good sign for the district.

“Keeping more of our employees is wonderful,” he said. “It has to do with the teachers’ contract passing last year I think. Sanborn is just an exciting place to work right now.”