State turns to mainland recruiting to fill hundreds of teacher vacancies

Facing the biggest teacher shortage in years, the Department of Education will soon be heading out of state to recruit qualified teachers.

The DOE says it needs to fill a variety of positions from special education to science. It also needs teachers for rural communities like Hana on Maui, as well as Lanai and Molokai.

It’s a problem the Hawaii State Teachers Association says has been around for years. There is a lack of qualified teachers in Hawaii classrooms.

At last count, Corey Rosenlee with the HSTA says there were over 500 teaching vacancies. “The problem is in Hawaii we have so many vacancies that we are putting substitute into positions and whether it’s a Spanish teacher that doesn’t know Spanish or physics teacher that’s never taken physics that is what’s occurring right now.”

In the 2015-2016 school year there were 781 resignations handed in by teachers around the state, and with this many teachers leaving, Rosenlee says there aren’t enough people applying to fill in the gaps. “So then what we do is we need emergency hires. Emergency hires and Hawaii in the last four years have gone up 300% and then we run out of emergency hires and we have vacancies, and vacancies in Hawaii have gone up 50% in the last five years.”

Emergency hires Rosenlee says are made up of student teachers, and in desperate cases, substitute teachers who might not know the subject they’re teaching. The HSTA says part of this because of salary. While not the lowest, Hawaii is below the national average. The salary range in Hacakensack, NJ for teachers is around $55,000 to over $115,000 a year.

Rosenlee says Hawaii teachers make much less. “So you have these teachers that are coming for the mainland from this district where they cannot get a teaching position coming to Hawaii and getting experience and then leaving to get these higher paid positions. This is bad for us because basically we become the training ground for all of these mainland cities.”

To apply for HIDOE Employment log onto
Or call: 808-441-8444.

There are teacher recruiting opportunities planned in 2017 in the following cities.

· Chicago, IL, March 19-21
· New York, NY, March 24-25
· Dallas, TX, March 31-April 1
· Portland, OR, April 4-6
· Los Angeles, CA, April 7-8
· Atlanta, GA, April 15-16

Recruitment will have several priorities for the upcoming school year which include:

· Special Education (K-12)
· Secondary English, Secondary Mathematics, Secondary Science
· American Sign Language, Deaf Education Teachers and Auditory-Oral Deaf Education Teachers
· Willingness to teach in geographically isolated areas (e.g. Hana, Maui; Island of Lanai; Island of Molokai; and the Kau, Keaau, and Pahoa complexes of the Big Island)
· Willingness to teach in West Maui (Lahaina)

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