Lawton Public Schools welcomes new teacher recruits - KSWO 7News | Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Lawton Public Schools welcomes new teacher recruits

LAWTON, Okla._Lawton Public Schools has teamed up with the "Teach for America” organization to bring more teachers to the area.

Seven of the teachers will join the district's faculty for the next two years. They joined other school officials on Friday to discuss the partnership agreement of recruiting and training new teachers every year and placing them into the rural and poverty-stricken areas.

"The bottom line is there aren't as many teachers out there as we need to hire,” said Superintendent Dr. Tom Deighan. “Some of the factors have to do with an aging teacher population. A lot of teachers are beginning to retire. And then one of the big factors also is teacher pay. It's become a market issue."

Teachers for America is comprised of teachers with unique backgrounds like Robert Barker, a southern California native. At one time, Barker traveled the country teaching and working in technology. But when he was recruited, he was working in another field when he suddenly found himself without a job.

"I primarily dealt with South African, East African, South American, and Central American refugees. I got laid off and I found out about TFA while hiring through the Department of Defense," said Barker.

Teachers for America is a program that recruits recent college graduates and professionals from other fields with or without teaching experience. Once they’ve been trained, the recruits are sent to teach in rural or poverty-stricken communities for a limited time.

Catherine Betances was recruited from her college campus and says though she knows her time in a community is limited, she knows she is able to make a difference in her classes and attributes it to her training.

"Teach for America, Oklahoma specifically, is so much about community partnerships and really connecting with people and not feeling like an outsider who just stays here for two years and leaves," said Betances.

The recruited educators will only be placed into three schools: Lawton High School, Central Middle School, and Pat Henry Elementary starting at the beginning of the new school year. Superintendent Deighan says the program has received a lot of positive reception.

"Lawton has been the most receptive, the most amazing welcome for the Teachers for America candidates they've seen anywhere else in the nation," said Dr. Deighan.

TFA consists of about 11,000 members nationwide. If you would like to get involved, you can visit their website at teachforamerica.org.

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