Teachers are in demand at Visalia Unified School District

Once fearing pink slips at year's end, teachers are now in demand. And recruitment efforts are getting competitive in the Valley.
March 12, 2014 12:00:00 AM PDT
Once fearing pink slips at year's end, teachers are now in demand. And recruitment efforts are getting competitive in the Valley.

Some changes on the horizon for Visalia Unified. After years of a down economy, the district is now looking to hire to reduce class sizes and fill the positions of the many teachers retiring.

For the past 37 years, Lynne Phillips has spent much of her time at Conyer Elementary School in Visalia teaching kindergarten through sixth grades.

"I love it, it is like my home, it's wonderful," said Phillips. "It's really something to be at one school for a period of time."

Come this June, Phillips will no longer call her classroom home, because she'll be retired.

Assistant Superintendent, Human Resources Development Tamara Ravalin said, "We're seeing some of the baby boomers who perhaps held off on retirement during the recession more comfortable so people are starting to retire."

Ravalin says the district has about 40 retiring teachers and needs to fill those spots. Valley school districts are also facing another unusual challenge, a shortage of teachers.

"Really, I think, the tables have turned a bit," said Ravalin. "All of the districts are trying to recruit earlier because we're all competing for the same teachers."

Ravalin says that's because during the recession, less people went into education or pursued their credentials. Right now, the district needs to hire 75 positions.

"We've already started hiring a pool of elementary school teachers because that's probably going to be our biggest opening," said Ravalin. "We anticipate with retirees, resignations and class size reductions, because that has come into play as well, we'll probably have 50 elementary K-6 openings."

For Phillips, she says although she is closing the chapter on her teaching career, it has been one of the most rewarding experiences in her life.

"But every single day, I can honestly say I get up in the morning and can't wait to come to school," explained Phillips.

A passion she hopes the next wave of teachers will bring to Visalia Unified.


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