1,000 by 2025: Making News
Local, national organizations partner to recruit, retain teachers amid ongoing shortage
As the state of Florida continues to grapple with a shortage of public school teachers, some local districts are partnering with local and national organizations to advance recruitment and retention efforts.
More than 5,300 teaching vacancies were posted as of January, according to the Florida Education Association.
In Duval County, an effort launched in 2021 seeks to recruit a more diverse crop of experienced teachers to more closely represent the community the district is tasked with educating.
Conference aims to help Duval County hire, retain more Black, Hispanic male teachers
The Lift and Lead Conference -- the first of its kind in Duval County -- is helping the county reach an important goal: to hire and retain more Black and Hispanic men as teachers in the county.
Keeping men like second grade teacher Nick Nelson in the classroom and trying to inspire one of his old students to become an educator.
“He said, you know, Mr. Nelson, all jokes aside, I have really thought about it because you have made it look pretty cool. I think that might be what I want to do,” said Nelson, who teaches at Sabal Palm Elementary School. “I read it. ‘I am doing this because you made it look cool.’ That gave me chills, and this is why I am doing what I’m doing.”
Teach for America
Creating schools where Black males can thrive
Rachael Tutwiler Fortune remembers the difficult transition of leaving her neighborhood elementary school to go to a magnet middle school for gifted and high achieving students. Her algebra teacher, Mr. Smith, helped her settle in at the school–and even became a source of inspiration. He would be Fortune’s first and only Black male teacher.
“Mr. Smith created a bit of a safe haven for me, really sought to encourage me to stay focused and to really maximize my potential and let me know that I was seen in that environment,” Fortune (Jacksonville ’08) said. “It was very easy for young people to get lost when they're kind of thrust into an environment where you have now more affluent peers, kids who are also very academically bright, but who have more resources than you.”