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Tigard-Tualatin: 3,000 applicants for 90 teaching slots

School district uses a teacher pool for elementary school openings this year
by: Jaime Valdez, JOIN THE CROWD — Tigard High School teachers crwod into the new rotunds area Tuesday at the high school for an in-service day. Prinicpal Pamela Henslee was surprised by the hundreds of applications submitted for 14 open teaching positions at the school this year.

School supplies? Check.

Class schedules and rosters? Check.

Teachers? Make that a double check.

The Tigard-Tualatin School District hired about 90 new teachers this school year to fill open teaching positions. Generally the district has about 60 open positions each year, but this year retirements and teachers moving out of the area or onto to different careers contributed to the district's higher-than-average number, said district spokeswoman Susan Stark Haydon.

The district received 3,000 resumes and applications from educators interested in working in the district. That number is about average, though, according to Stark Haydon.

But some schools did find that the applicant numbers were pretty high this year.

At Tualatin High School, Principal Jeff Smith had more than 300 people apply for at least one of nine open positions at the school.

'I wasn't surprised,' Smith said. 'They've heard good things about (the district).'

And at Tigard High, where 14 positions were open, Principal Pam Henslee was also pleasantly surprised by the hundreds of applications submitted.

'It was much higher than usual,' Henslee said. 'But I don't really know why.'

'A good reputation' was the repeated phrase among principals and district administration for explaining the trend.

Another explanation was early planning. This year district representatives visited numerous job fairs for recruiting.

This was also the first year that the district offered a teachers' pool for its elementary schools.

Byrom Elementary Principal Rick Byrom said he couldn't even say how many positions were open at his school this year. Most were filled before there was time to advertise the openings.

Aside from in-district transfers, Byrom Elementary also took advantage of the district teacher pool.

The district had 12 early hires for the teacher pool - meaning the district hired the teachers before there was an actual opening. The hires were recruited from numerous job fairs both locally and out of state, Stark Haydon said.

The early start and the heavy volume of applicants means a good selection of high-quality candidates, said Smith and Stark Haydon.

'I'm really proud and pleased to have that type of interest in working here,' Smith said. 'If you have a good staff, you have a good school.'