Wood County Schools says nearly all teaching positions filled

PARKERSBURG — Personnel Director Sean Francisco said while the school system still has some hard-to-fill positions, less than a dozen teaching positions remain open in Wood County Schools.

The 2017-18 school year started at the end of August, with the Wood County Board of Education meeting weekly during the summer months to fill positions throughout the county.

Francisco said about 10 positions remain open, but some will be filled when the school board meets again next week. The district employs about 1,200 teachers in its 27 schools and two technical centers.

Of those 10 positions, five are in special education and two are Spanish language teaching positions, both of which are difficult jobs to fill.

“It’s not just Wood County,” he said. “Unfortunately it is a bit of a pandemic statewide. Right now there are about 20 open Spanish positions in the state.”

Francisco said the issue is with a lack of certified and qualified candidates. In some cases, jobs require multiple certifications.

“Some of the advice I give to people in education programs, they need to enhance their certification by taking the Praxis” exams to gain certification in multiple areas, he said. “That makes it much easier for me to find you a job.”

Francisco said finding special education teachers has been a challenge, as the district’s population of special needs student has been increasing. Even so, Francisco said he believes the district will be able to fill all of the open special education positions in the coming weeks.

“Right now we haven’t had much of a problem finding candidates,” he said.

Francisco said he works with local colleges to find adjunct professors or similar faculty who may be able to get temporary certification through the state to work in the classroom in a position of need, such as Spanish.

This year the school system has not had as many problems finding single-certification teachers in areas of math and science, though at times in years past it has been a challenge.

Francisco said that he plans to review the district’s substitute teaching positions in the coming month to determine if there are any shortages. In the past, Wood County Schools has had trouble finding enough substitutes to meet demand.

“I try to give the schools time to get their staffing settled at the beginning of school,” he said. “In a few weeks, I’ll start keeping a closer eye on those numbers.”