CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools (CMS) said they have about 300 teacher vacancies they need to fill in order to get ready for the next school year. The district held a job fair Saturday at The Park Expo on Briar Creek Road.
District recruitment leaders believe they will complete the vacancy assignment.
"We do think we have a good pool of people at this moment to fill the vacancies that we do have," Rakeda Leaks, a CMS recruitment team leader said.
Leaks says during the first hour of the job fair, nearly 1,000 people came through the doors. She admits recruiting never ends because more vacancies could pop up.
"As we get additional vacancies throughout the summer, our need is to maintain that interest and to also attract new people to the district," Leaks said.
Cathy Devries showed up at the job fair. She says she graduates from UNC-Charlotte in two weeks. The potential teacher says she had two interviews in her first two hours at the job fair and her heart is with elementary students.
"I love the way that they learn and how their faces light up when they get an idea," Devries said.
As teachers think about joining CMS, there are many subjects that are on their minds. The district is going through some changes and at the same time dealing with some old issues. New hires can expect a new superintendent and a new student assignment plan coming soon to the district, while safety in the classrooms and teacher pay are subjects that remain.
Last year there were more than 300 assaults on school personnel. Devries says she thinks about that, but still wants to work in CMS.
"Those kids also need to be taught," Devries said. "They deserve the same chance as everybody else, so while that is in the back of my mind - I don't let it be a driving force for yes or no."
Another constant issue is teacher pay. It is improving in North Carolina but still hasn't reached the national average. Teachers say despite the pay, they love what they do.
"It's definitely not for the money cause we are not getting enough of it, but the children need us and we need to be there for them." Tanya James-Wilson, a CMS teacher, said.
Veteran CMS teachers are telling teacher candidates they are excited about CMS' new student assignment plan and what it could mean for teachers. The new plan will change some students' schools, teacher assignments and is designed to offer more diversity and equity in some schools. Teachers welcome the change and thinks it will help with academic achievement.
"There should be no one child to receive one opportunity, while the other is not being provided those opportunities," Dalvin Sutton, a teacher at CMS, said. "It's about time our kids do receive the same type of education."
While candidates await to see if they get hired, CMS says the hard to fill subjects are math, science and special education. The district also says there is a need for more elementary school teachers.