A Look at Staffing in the Columbia County School System

EVANS, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) – Safety and quality education is a top priority as the new year begins.

A key part of doing this is having the right number of staff and teachers. Just a few weeks ago, Columbia County hired more than 200 teachers for the start of the new year.

We spoke with schools in Columbia County on Friday to see how close they are to being fully staffed.

Columbia is about 10 teachers short on the first day, which puts them in a good position in the struggle to find teachers across the country.

“It’s a shrinking labor pool for some reason. I don’t understand,” said Columbia County Schools Resource Manager Dr. Anthony Wright.

He is looking for teachers to fill the growing need since the end of January to get ahead of the local competition.

“There are a lot of places people can go, so we knew it was coming. We started early with our hiring and tried to jump on those school districts and try to get our message out first,” he said.

But to move forward, starting early may not be enough.

“You have to continually reinvent yourself, you have to continually go where the talent is, and that’s what we have to do,” Wright said.

Going to places outside of CSRA and outside of Georgia, places Columbia County has never had to go before.

With this growing need, some teachers have even come out of retirement to help with longer-term supply roles.

“Mainly to fill in some gaps. Mainly to fulfill some short-term replacement roles. Some staff members are absent because they are expanding their families. But yeah, we’ve only had one or two retirees in those areas,” he said.

The county will continue to work to fill these positions during the school year, but the county is still fully functioning as the school year is now underway.

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Jeremy S. McLain