The South Orange-Maplewood School District held a drop-in job fair on Thursday, August 17, attracting 73 job seekers. Ultimately eight offers were made.
The district is seeking to fill 22 certified employee vacancies, according to Human Resources. SOMSD reports that this number is “down from the 27 the district had at this time last year.”
Last year, at the August 2022 BOE meeting, the district reported that it was short of 14 SPED [special education] teachers, 5 LR [Learning Resource] SPED teachers, 7 various LR [Learning Resource] teachers, 5 educational services and 7 support staff. Like school districts nationwide, SOMSD is struggling to find teachers — particularly in special education, with parents pleading their case before the Board of Education.
In July, the district launched its first radio campaign aimed at attracting “talented individuals from diverse backgrounds” to its classrooms. The 30-second advertisements ran on Hot 97 FM through August 16th.
From the South Orange-Maplewood School District:
SOUTH ORANGE, N.J. – The District’s Drop-In Job Fair was billed as a casual event where educators could discover employment opportunities in the District. But the relaxed atmosphere didn’t stop administrators from getting some serious business done in recruiting for critical teaching vacancies for the 2023-2024 school year.
A total of 73 job-seekers made their way to the Montrose Early Childhood Center on Thursday. Offers of employment were extended to eight candidates, including high school math teachers and elementary school special education teachers. Overall, the turnover was respectable for a late-summer recruiting event in the midst of a continuing, persistent teacher shortage.
“The Human Resources Department has been innovative and strategic in recruiting educators in an extremely competitive labor market, and we greatly appreciate their ability to attract qualified and motivated professionals to serve our students and families,” said Dr. Ronald Taylor, Superintendent of the School District of South Orange and Maplewood. “I want to commend Human Resources Director Tunde Adedoyin and his team, as well as the school principals and administrators, for all of their efforts in making the Drop-In Job Fair a success.”
The offers of employment are contingent upon the successful completion of the candidates’ background checks, reference reviews, and Board of Education approval.
Another highlight of the Drop-In Job Fair included the participation of South Orange Maplewood Education Association (SOMEA) representatives.
Adedoyin expressed his gratitude to Monique Durant and Shahnee Grant-Richardson, two of his colleagues in the Human Resources Department, as well as Thomas Giglio and Diego Diaz of the Facilities Department for their efforts in planning and producing the event.