Columbia County reviews more than 100 teaching candidates

Friday, March 2, 2012 6:28 PM
Last updated 10:47 PM
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More than a hundred candidates went to Martinez on Friday in hopes of landing a teaching position with the Columbia County school system.

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Penny Jackson, the principal of Grovetown High School, talks with William McCorkle during a mass teacher interview Friday. McCorkle hopes to teach high school math.  CHRIS THELEN/STAFF
Penny Jackson, the principal of Grovetown High School, talks with William McCorkle during a mass teacher interview Friday. McCorkle hopes to teach high school math.

In these times of slashed budgets and increased class sizes, many left the teacher screening with the knowledge that their job hunt must continue.

“It’s tough on these applicants,” said Jerilyn Northcutt, the schools’ assistant director of Human Resources. “I feel bad for these college graduates excited to go out and get their first job, and there’s none out there.”

Each year, Columbia County conducts a mass teacher screening, with applicants meeting with at least three principals each for prospective jobs.

On Friday, 120 applicants met with principals. Last year, and the year before, school officials interviewed 132 applicants, but hired just 88 in 2011 and 110 in 2010.

Once, the fast-growing system held two mass teacher screenings each year to fill open positions, but that hasn’t happened since 2008, Northcutt said. Though the pupil population in Columbia County has grown by 22 percent since 2002, the system has lost more than $73.5 million in state funding. Officials expect to lose $10 million more next school year.

To make up for lost funding, the school board increased class sizes at least twice in recent years, lessening the need for teachers and cutting payroll expenses.

Northcutt said most Georgia school systems have done likewise.

Elizabeth Hemphill, a
22-year-old graduate of Georgia Southern University, knows firsthand the difficulties facing new teachers.

“After I got my undergraduate degree, I saw friends, certified teachers, taking jobs as part-time (pre-kindergarten) teachers just to get work,” she said. “That’s why I decided to stay in school longer to get my master’s.”

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pearlthesquirrel 03/03/12 - 07:48 am
Oh yea, the good 'ol cattle

Oh yea, the good 'ol cattle call for college dreamers - ahhh, what a delightful thought. Good luck buddy. CCBOE is the good ol' boy's not WHAT you know, it's WHO you know. (Here's how you score bonus points: 1.) Be a female 2.) Be a female with blonde or bleached blonde hair 3.) Although not stating it obviously, somehow make it known that you are religious / Christian 4.) Drive a nice car - you know, a Lexus, a BMW, Toyota, Hyundai, something new and shiny will help you 5.) Don't have your own opinion - stroke the company line if you can ). If you think you'll impress them with your "content knowledge," "stellar grade point average [GPA] " problem-solving skills," "class ranking," or any other of a hundred things which I am sure you are proud of, well, you might as well fold your tent and take your show to the next town.
Please re-read my third sentence and make sure it sticks to your brain like peanut butter sticks to the top of your mouth!

matjoe 03/04/12 - 09:07 am
Last year there was 132

Last year there was 132 applicants and 88 were hired. That's about a 67% chance of getting hired just for showing up. Even better odds the year before. Hmm.

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