KNIGHTDALE, N.C. (WNCN) — You couldn’t miss the full parking lot outside of Knightdale High School Saturday and the hundreds of people walking through the front entrance — all there for the Wake County Public School System’s annual spring job fair.
Jason Kennedy, the school district’s talent acquisition director, said was exciting to see a large amount of interest from people who are interested in teaching.
“I think people are still interested in teaching, they’re looking at different ways to come into the classroom and make an impact to a child’s life and we’re here for that,” Kennedy said.
Kennedy said the virtual and in-person event brought around 800 registered candidates from within the area and even out of state. He said it’s one of the largest job fairs the school district has hosted since the start of the pandemic.
Candidates had the opportunity to attend separate sessions to interview, exchange resumes and network.
“Even if you have your bachelor’s degree and you’re interested in teaching, we have people here who are ready to talk to you about alternative licensing pathways to get into teaching,” Kennedy said.
Among those candidates was Anderlicia Glass who traveled from Danville, Virginia. She’s been an elementary school teacher for almost a decade.
“I did a little research and I want to come back to North Carolina. I was looking at the different schools and they have really good report cards,” Glass said.
Glass said she used the opportunity to meet other principals and hopes to move up into an administrative role. She said teacher and substitute shortages within her school district have created challenges, but she continues to love her job.
“There have been times where I said this is not for me, but getting to know my students and building relationships with them… to understand why has made me want to stay in the profession.”
Wake County school officials said teacher and staff shortages continue to be a challenge for schools across the country.
“Wake County Public School System is not oblivious to that and we have been affected by it, but what we’ve done is we’ve put in multiple avenues of attracting and sourcing candidates and this is just one of them,” Kennedy said.
In August, Wake County school officials said they were working to hire around 400 teacher positions — about 3 percent of the district’s teaching jobs. School officials said it’s difficult to determine what kind of shortage they may be looking at for the 2023-24 school year but also said that number has significantly dropped.
School officials said ideal candidates include teachers who are eligible for a North Carolina Educator’s License as well as recent graduates who have completed student teaching. Others interested in teaching were also invited to learn ways of entering the profession through an alternative route.