‘We’re over 99% staffed:’ Chesterfield superintendent discusses recruitment efforts for new school year

Last year, Chesterfield Schools reported 245 teacher vacancies.
Last year, Chesterfield Schools reported 245 teacher vacancies.
Published: Aug. 15, 2023 at 1:49 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 15, 2023 at 6:27 PM EDT
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CHESTERFIELD, Va. (WWBT) - On August 21, thousands of Chesterfield students will head back to class for the first day of school.

“Our schools are ready, our teachers are ready, and we just want to get our kids in to start the learning process,” Chesterfield Schools Superintendent Merv Daugherty told NBC12.

On Aug. 10, 2022, the school division reported 245 teacher vacancies. Roughly two weeks after that report, Superintendent Daugherty told NBC12 the vacancies were below 200 for the start of school. To help fill every class, Daugherty said the school division was utilizing long-term subs and other programs.

This year, Daugherty told NBC12 they’re “way ahead of last year’s numbers with staffing.”

“We’re over 99 percent staffed, which we’re really excited about,” said Superintendent Daugherty. “I think it’s wonderful that our schools are going to start really strong and ready to go and not worry about the vacancies we had last year.”

Superintendent Daugherty credits going outside the box for their recruitment efforts to help them reach their current staffing levels.

“We were able to look at our career switcher program, and then our programs with instructional aides and looking how to get them to get their provisional and helping other people get their certificate to teach,” he told NBC12.

Superintendent Daugherty also talked about their hiring efforts spanning the globe. Through a partnership with Participate Learning, the school division hired 30 educators from nine different countries.

Chesterfield Teachers
Chesterfield Teachers(Source;Chesterfield County Public Schools | Chesterfield County Public Schools)

On July 27, the school division welcomed the teachers, who will work full-time in 10 different schools teaching a variety of subjects, including elementary education, English as a second language, and Spanish.

The school division also says each teacher meets Virginia licensure standards, holds a college education degree, has at least two years of teaching experience and is highly proficient in English.

“The opportunity for us to reach out and say we’re a melting pot of society, and we’re bringing teachers in that are helping us,” said Superintendent Daugherty. “They want to come here, they want to be in Chesterfield, and it’s just another opportunity to look at how do we fill in gaps that are there in education right now.”

The first day of school for Chesterfield is Aug. 21. All elementary school students, as well as sixth and ninth graders, will return to class on Aug. 21. All other middle and high school students will start their first day of school on Aug. 22.

For the full school schedule, click here.