Vega ISD uses new method to hire teachers

Vega ISD is utilizing a video to help attract the interest of teachers who want to work and live in a rural community (Drew Powell ABC7 News)

In an effort to help recruit new teachers, the Vega Independent School District is trying out new tactics.

According to Vega school administrators, the challenge is keeping the younger generation or first and second year teachers to stay in the community and school. A higher percentage of teachers who stay have 15 years of longevity or longer with the district.

Region 16 produced a video to help Vega ISD attract new teachers who have an interest in working or living in a rural community. The district is hoping it will separate themselves from other districts in Region 16 to hire new teachers.

“It seems like there are less and less teachers available in the workforce,” said Dr. Paul Uttley, Superintendent of Vega ISD. “I think some of that has been due to an attack on public education so it’s trying to find those quality teachers and compete for those good quality teachers.”

Besides using the video, the district is looking at the idea of branching out to other parts of the state such as Dallas, Fort Worth, Austin and other cities to attend job fairs with hopes of attracting more qualified teachers.

“So far we’ve been able to market ourselves by going to local job fairs,” said Uttley. “We are having discussions to see if there is a need to reach out further than this area.”

The period of late spring to early summer is considered the prime hiring season for districts in rural communities. Vega High School and Junior High principal Kassidy Rosas tells ABC 7 News the video will help show what Vega has to offer beyond a job as a teacher.

“I think it’s the balance, the best of both worlds that you have with a small town community by living and working here,” said Kassidy Rosas, principal. “Here you know your neighbor. You know the kids riding the bikes down the street. You can drive thirty minutes to get to Amarillo and you have all the perks of living in a bigger metroplex type kind of city.”

On average the district hires five new teachers a year. Sometimes the district hires a new teacher in the middle of the school year. Kelsey Ansley is finishing her first year at Vegas as a teacher and tells ABC 7 News by working in a rural community it comes with challenges and benefits.

“The support that you get from all of the staff members is a benefit,” said Kelsey Ansley, teacher. “Everyone wants you to succeed and help the kids succeed.”

The district is also opening a new gymnasium, Ag shop, high school wing, a renovated auditorium and band hall. The school will also feature a new track and weight room. Funding for the projects is coming from a $18 million bond that voters approved in 2015.

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