Hiring teachers for Fresno Unified becoming year long process due to teacher shortage

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Fresno Unified is going to great lengths and traveling far distances to get teachers in their classrooms.

"Our recruitment literally does go from one end of the country to the other," said Maria Mazzoni, Fresno Unified Human Resources.

New teachers are hard to come by. So much that district is having to travel to Miami, Syracuse, and even Mexico to fill the right positions.

Fresno Unified administrators say recruiting has become a year-round requirement. The district expects to have 300 openings next school year. Officials already have 80 signed offers in their quest to maintain their 99-percent fill rate.

"We're literally that aggressive that we're looking at staffing and the trends and how many we know we're going to need at different school sites and we're literally hiring now," said Mazzoni.

"We have people walking in every day saying, 'oh, I just got hired in this district as STIP or a PIP or an intern, so can you get me in the teacher program,'" said Paul Beare, Dean of Kremen School of Education at Fresno State.

Fresno State has a partnership with Fresno Unified and said it tries to accommodate and encourage as many teacher candidates as they can in order to lessen the sting of the teacher shortage.

"It makes me feel excited to become a teacher because I know there's going to be a job probably waiting for me," said Emily Dixon, Fresno State student.

The number of teachers coming out Fresno State is going up. Last school year the university produced more than 500 new teachers. This year it expects to produce more than 600. Officials said they have been seeing a 20-percent jump in students working towards getting their teaching credential.

"I mean, it made it more than any other UC or CSU this year, we're up from that," said Beare.

As for why California is faring so much worse than other parts of the state-- officials said the state's wavering budget has made teaching appear to be an unstable career. When in fact, now, there are plenty of jobs available.
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