News Ticker

Open teaching positions lead to teachers stepping in and out

By Sofia Paborji, Editor-in-Chief

A rotation of teachers occured this year in the math department, leaving students with many substitutes and different teachers. In January, Veena Jaine, an Integrated Math one and two teacher, stepped down from her teaching position, leaving students without a teacher for two days before Vidya Viswanathan stepped in as their new teacher.
The 2017-2018 school year began with three openings in the math department in place of Dennis Lynch, Earl Freckleton, and Erika Snouffer. Aaron Shuler, first-year teacher, stepped in for Freckleton, and in place of Snouffer, Jaine stepped in. While Jaine did qualify for the position and taught for six months, she stepped down. Leigh High School principal Kara Butler described her situation as a scenario where Jaine did not find Leigh as the best fit.
The hiring process, crucial to this year as there were many open teaching positions, requires fingerprinting, credentials, and determining if the teacher is a good fit.
“Our goal is to hire quality and qualified teachers who are the best fit for Leigh students and our school community. Currently, it is very difficult to find teachers in the areas of math, science and Special Education even when we can hire early, much less during the summer,” said Butler. “Every year we strive to hire as early as possible when the best candidates are available. However, there are times when late retirements or the loss of a teacher makes that impossible,” she added.
Viswanathan, the teacher who took place of Jaine early January, quickly had to pick up where the curriculum ended as Jaine left.
“It was a little l difficult because I didn’t meet her, so we didn’t have time for a proper handover from her to me…I was asked to join right away; they didn’t have anyone and her time was over so I had to jump in immediately,” said Viswanathan.
However, Viswanathan is enjoying the community at Leigh so far. ”Since the number of staff is also less here, it’s a more family kind of environment, it’s nice,” she added.
Currently all of Leigh High School’s departments are fully staffed except math. Butler also mentioned that when there are open STEM associated jobs beyond teaching, those jobs are more sought after, especially in the Bay Area.