After a two-year hiatus, the Annual Educator Job Fair hosted by Bend-La Pine Schools was back Monday at the Deschutes County Expo Center.
“And I’d always tell my mom ‘I’m going to live here one day,’ because I didn’t grow up here,” said Bailey Howell, a Western Oregon University teaching student.
For future Western Oregon graduate Bailey Howell, the Annual Educator Job Fair is her ticket to a life in Central Oregon.
“I’ve always stuck with that and seeing the great school districts that have been built here has really made me drive further into that,” Howell said.
“And we are a remote area in Central Oregon and we need to be able to recruit people here and hopefully events like this can achieve that goal,” said Ryan Kelling, the Director of Recruitment and Retention for Bend-La Pine Schools.
Recruiting teachers for Central Oregon schools continues to be a struggle.
“And the two-year absence could definitely have led to a lower turnout,” Kelling said “We’re hoping that’s because of our online component.”
The event did not see as much traction as usual according to officials.
“We’re hopeful that candidates can find us and fill all of our positions this year,” Kelling said.
Officials were unable to tell us the exact number of jobs needing to be filled.
“There’s not a ton of people here today, but it’s been very exciting,” said Holly Hennessey, the Human Resources Specialist for Licensed Staff at Redmond School District.
But young, aspiring teachers like Howell appeared to be the majority of those who attended Monday.
“I have a new set of eyes other people might not have and I think that’s important when the job is declining. Something has to change,” Howell said.
“I think it’s important to get young and fresh faces in Central Oregon to teach but it’s not essentially ‘more is better’ but quality of the educator is more what we’re looking for,” Hennessey said.
According to Holly Hennessey with Redmond Schools, that quality is arriving despite the lacking crowds.
Out of the 30 people she personally interviewed, she says more than half will receive calls back.
“Very promising candidates we’re very excited about,” Hennessey said.
Excitement shared by the candidates as well, who are hoping to…
“Secure my spot,” Howell said.