Douglas declares critical teacher shortage

The historic Minden School on Mono Avenue serves as the headquarters of the Douglas County School District.

The historic Minden School on Mono Avenue serves as the headquarters of the Douglas County School District.

Douglas County schools open Aug. 21 with a critical shortage of teachers.

There are currently 19 open teaching positions posted on the Douglas County Website, eight of which are at the elementary schools, and four critical shortages in special education, emotional social learning classrooms.

During the Aug. 8 board meeting, Board Trustees approved to place Elementary Classroom teachers in a Critical Shortage Need position which will enable the district to consider candidates who have previously retired within the State to teach.

Resident May Hiatt said she noticed on the district website that there is a shortage across the board in education and not just in elementary schools.

“If we are talking in terms of critical, it is everywhere,” she said. “As a freshman, my son, had a revolving door of substitute teachers in math, and that’s one of the most important subjects and he had nothing but substitute teachers. I want you to acknowledge that there is a shortage of teachers at every level not just in elementary but in middle school and high school as well.”

Many schools are facing a growing number of unfulfilled positions. Douglas County currently has positions open in music, welding and automotive, social studies, math and more.

“We do have openings, like many districts probably have right now, but we’re working hard to fulfill those, and I want to assure the public that we are,” said Superintendent Keith Lewis.

The designation of the position as a critical shortage need would be a two-year period and the district would be required to re-apply for the designation at the end of the two-year period.

“Often, if you look on our job board you will see the regular followed by a critical shortage right after to give us the flexibility to go either way, but we obviously want to hire qualified persons first,” said Lewis.

Hiatt mentioned the $7,000 salary increase Carson School District approved for their staff and asked what is going to entice staff and teachers to come to Douglas County.

“What are we going to do to make sure Douglas County gets the best?” she asked. “It’s not about recruiting retirees, they retired for a reason, they don’t want to work. I have master’s degree in education, I am a teacher with over 20 years of experience in high school science, but I don’t work in Douglas or Carson, because they don’t pay me enough. If you want me to come back to work, pay me more, pay our current teachers more, pay our staff more. Because they deserve it.”

Lewis said there have been negotiations and discussion on the manner of increasing pay to teachers and staff while being competitive.

“We value our employees, is it ever enough? No, but I think we have shown that if we have the ability, we will,” said Lewis, “but we all know of the teacher shortage, especially in the world of special education and this has been critical in our staffing needs.”

Douglas County School District is looking to fulfill positions across the board in education, not just teachers, but in administration and secretarial, facility, transportation, nutrition, student support services and more. Visit for more information and to apply.


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