DES MOINES, Iowa -- With resumes in hand, prospective teachers found themselves on the hot seat Saturday morning at the Des Moines school district’s career fair.
At stake, a job where benefits are plentiful and opportunities are endless.
“I am looking for a bigger school district for myself and to benefit more kids,” said Priscilla Gammon, an applicant.
“It`s my life long goal to be there and be there for the kids and make a difference,” said Christopher Ocak, a substitute in the district.
350 positions are on the line this year.
According to administrator Dr. Anne Sullivan, the record number of openings is partially due to attrition and partially due to a teaching leadership grant turning educators of students into mentors of fellow teachers.
“Those positions are allowing us to build leadership capacity out of our own teaching staff. Teachers will be in a very important leadership position coaching and mentoring other teachers in the classroom,” Sullivan told Channel 13 News.
With more than 700 applicants Saturday, there is no shortage of people willing to teach in the capitol city.
Like many districts across the country, the Des Moines school district admits it struggles to recruit diverse candidates to match its diverse student body.
“In our district, we are about 25% Hispanic and 18% African American,” said Sullivan.
It`s a problem the district says it recognizes and is attempting to fix.
Sullivan says the district works with national recruiters to attract a more diverse candidate pool.
She also claims the district reaches out to middle school and high school students encouraging careers in education, and works with local universities offering incentives for people to get into the profession.
'We have our 3D program which involves Des Moines schools, DMACC, and Drake University trying to develop that pipeline of diverse candidates,” said Sullivan.
A lack of diversity is not something that can be fixed overnight.
In the meantime, the district says it`s thrilled with the candidates it does have.
“We have been very impressed with the young men and women who have come through our doors today,” Sullivan told Channel 13 News.
If you didn't make it to the career fair but would still like to teach with Des Moines Public Schools, the district posts all of its positions on its website.
You can visit the website by clicking the link below.