Duval County Public Schools needs to hire 400 teachers before the school year

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Duval County Public Schools needs to hire 400 teachers before the upcoming school year.

District Leaders tell Action News Jax they’re trying to meet a critical shortage they are seeing in the state and around the country.

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With resumes in hand Ashley Bell made the trip to Jacksonville from South Carolina for a chance to work for Duval County Public Schools.

“I drove down yesterday for the job fair,” said Bell.

Justin Powe was just offered a job at GRASP Academy.

He says he fell in love with teaching, even though this wasn’t his original plan.

“Went to college for medical and did all that but I just saw a real need in education,” said Powe.

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The district says they need to hire 400 positions by the fall.

The state is seeing a critical need in English, math and science.

Duval says they’re looking to fill all fields.

The district has 165 schools and of those, 80 percent of them are hiring.

Hugh Morris said he’s hoping to snag a job teaching math, calculus, physics or chemistry.

In February, Action News Jax told you about a similar job fair in St. Johns County, the highest rated district in Florida that’s also trying to fill positions for the fall.

In May, Clay County Schools were hiring for more than 100 open teacher positions.

District leaders in Duval said they are seeing a shortage because many teachers are retiring or resigning this year and they’ve noticed fewer students going to college for teaching.

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Duval County said they’re also hiring para-professionals, like Sienna Jones, to help fill the gap.

“I’m trying to just be a classroom assistant so I’m helping with all the kids,” said Jones.

Most candidates agree it takes a lot of work to be a teacher, but it’s worth it in the end.

“I love watching their little lights go on and seeing their happy faces when they actually get what we’ve been talking about in the lessons that we’ve been doing,” said Bell.

Duval County says they’re also actively hiring teachers throughout the year.

They say if you missed out on the recruitment fair, they interview candidates at the main school board building on Tuesdays from 9 a.m. to noon.