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Germantown seeking teachers after increase in resignations

Sept. 12, 2012

Germantown - The Germantown School District saw an unusual number of resignations before the 2012-13 school year and is continuing to fill five open positions.

The Germantown School District had 22 resignations and seven retirements this year, which is a significant jump over the last six years, Assistant Superintendent Cynthia Coley said during the board's personnel committee meeting this week as she gave an update on staffing to board members.

In the 2010-11 school year the numbers were flipped as there were six resignations and 23 retirements.

"It's hard to know if this is the start of a trend with only one year's worth of data but it is a recognizable spike in terms of resignations," Superintendent Susan Borden said.

There were three late resignations this summer that the district is still working to fill. Jennifer Ganske, director of teaching and learning, resigned a few weeks ago. The district is working to ensure the position is filled properly.

Borden said it is highly important the director of teaching and learning has exceptionally strong skills in literacy as the district is adopting new reading and writing curriculum at the elementary level. A full-time Spanish teacher is also needed in the district. The previous teacher taught part-time Spanish and part-time English Language Learners, meaning students whose first language is not English. The district is working to find a teacher who can educate in both Spanish and ELL.

A full-time special education position at the high school is also open.

The district also needs to fill two part-time Title 1 positions including a reading position at MacArthur Elementary and a math position at Rockfield Elementary.

"These two positions are based on uncertainty of funding," Borden said. "You wait as long as you can on using those dollars."

During the personnel committee meeting Monday, Borden said districts are just beginning to understand the ripple effects of changes at the state level as a result of Act 10.

She said the term commonly thrown around is "free agency" as educators realize their seniority no longer matters.

"If we train them really well and they can work closer to home, why wouldn't they move," she said. "You're seeing a lot of new dynamics, which from the outside is interesting to watch."

On the positive side, board member and committee chair Sarah Larson said Germantown is also attracting educators who not only have experience, but can bring new ideas to the district.

"As much as there is the internal work of reacclimating to the changes, there's a lot of positive things that can come out of it," Larson said.

Coley said the uptick in retirements in the 2010-11 school year could be attributed to changes at the state level. These changes allowed the board to change the retirement age from 55 to 57. Board member Bruce Warnimont said giving the district the ability to make these changes could be the reason behind the upswing in retirements last year.

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