School divisions across Central Virginia look to fill teacher vacancies, others open with full staff

As the school year inches closer, Richmond, Henrico and Chesterfield schools have hundreds of teacher vacancies
As large school divisions across Central Virginia look to fill teacher vacancies, others are opening their schools with a full slate of staff.
Published: Aug. 10, 2022 at 6:21 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - As the school year inches closer for students across the Richmond area, school leaders are looking to fill hundreds of teaching positions within their divisions for the upcoming year.

For Henrico County Public Schools Superintendent Amy Cashwell, excitement is in the air for the return of students on Aug. 29.

“We’re really energized to welcome our students back,” said Cashwell.

Cashwell also notes this is happening during a time she describes as a “challenging recruitment season.”

“We are seeing trends here in Henrico that are being felt nationally with the teacher shortage,” Cashwell told NBC12. “This is something that’s been on our radar for about a decade now, understanding that teacher preparation programs are producing fewer graduates, fewer interested in that field.”

As of Monday, Henrico County Public Schools reports they have 211 teacher vacancies, and the division employs 5,000 teachers.

This is a similar situation other large school divisions in Central Virginia are facing.

On Wednesday, Chesterfield County Public Schools notes they are roughly down 243 teachers in the division, with 116 vacancies for elementary schools.

On Aug. 1, Richmond Public Schools reported they had 163 open teacher positions as numerous jobs for bus drivers, custodians and cafeteria workers.

NBC12 reached out to several school divisions across Central Virginia to get updates on the status of their teacher vacancies.

Hanover County Public Schools told NBC12 the division has 10 teacher vacancies, eight in secondary and two in elementary schools.

A spokesperson for Hanover County notes interviews for many of these positions are already in progress. The school division tells NBC12 their recruitment process continues year-round and is implementing several strategies and has been using several different ways to do so, including:

  • A $1,000 sign-on incentive for new bus drivers. In addition to the base rate of pay and other benefits, such as a flexible schedule, medical benefits, and paid training, bus drivers who join our team between now and September will earn $500 after their first 60 days of employment and $500 at the end of the first semester of next school year.
  • A $2,000 employee referral incentive to help fill positions in critical shortage areas, such as bus drivers, food service employees, custodians, and certain teaching positions. We offered a $1,000 incentive to employees last year and increased it in May to $2,000. This also goes through September.

Dinwiddie County Public Schools notes they have 12 teacher vacancies. The school division notes their recruitment efforts continue with a job fair on Aug. 20 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Historic Southside High School Education Center.

A spokesperson for Petersburg City Public Schools notes there are 18 teacher vacancies. The school division also notes that there have been 58 new hires for the upcoming school year.

Hopewell Public Schools tells NBC12 that the school division was able to fill their positions and may be able to operate without additional hires. However, the school division notes they are interested in interviewing for the following positions:

  • One High School Spanish Teacher
  • One Middle School French Teacher
  • One SPED teaching position
  • Four K-6 teaching positions
  • One High School English Teacher

A spokesperson for Hopewell Public Schools also notes these positions are being absorbed, and instruction is being provided through external contracting and internal reorganization.

Superintendent Dr. William Sroufe notes Colonial Heights schools are looking for an elementary school teacher for 5th grade.

On Wednesday, students in Amelia County went back to class for their first day of school. Superintendent Dr. Lori Harper told NBC12 the school division has two vacancies, which include spots for a foreign language teacher and one for a school counselor.

Harper said their upper-level foreign language students would be enrolled in online programming. The school division’s counselor position is being filled with a counseling intern working under the direction of a licensed counselor at the same school.

As school divisions across Central Virginia look to fill these spots, other school divisions are opening with a full staff.

This includes Louisa County Public Schools, which welcomed students back to the classroom on Tuesday, and Goochland County Public Schools.

“Our instructional staff is fully staffed,” said Goochland County Public Schools Superintendent Jeremy Raley.

Raley told NBC12 that their job openings’ recruitment efforts started in December.

“Trying to identify what teachers we expected would be returning, looking forward to what retirements would be happening and just trying to get a gage in our workforce at that time,” he said.

As school divisions look to fill these job openings, Cashwell said their recruitment efforts continue.

“We’ll work together to make sure we’re meeting our students’ needs,” Cashwell told NBC12.

Cashwell told NBC12 they’re looking at creative ways to fill those job openings with their current team.

“Looking at various licensure and certifications teachers have,” Cashwell said. “Maybe they are going to teach in an area they haven’t typically taught in before. We have a number of coaches and central staff who have actually for the past few years helped us as needed.”

Cashwell also said they would continue to leverage their teacher residency programs.

“As teachers are finishing their preparation programs and they’re entering into student teaching and those sorts of things, there’s some different models we’ve tried with our higher ed partners that allow us to actually bring them on to employment in various roles alongside a master teacher,” she said.

Henrico Schools also notes a program that allows high school students to grow in their potential career path in education, which includes shadowing a teacher.

NBC12 is also expecting an update on the number of teacher vacancies Richmond Public Schools is facing when the agenda for the school board’s meeting on Monday is posted online.

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