Jefferson City, Missouri – As more people return to school in Missouri, more than 20% of school districts in the state have new or interim superintendents.
Teacher shortages Missouri had the last educator salaries in the country and reported on how the pandemic has affected students. I faced one of the few vacancies. Of the state’s 518 school districts, 104 were looking for superintendents over the summer.
said Mike Parnell, Deputy Executive Director of the Missouri Association of School Boards (MSBA). “Especially now because of the controversy in society.”
More than 53% of these job openings are due to retirements from previous school years.
Doug Hayter, Executive Director of the Missouri Association of School Administrators (MASA) said: “And more than 70 of his 100 are in his first year in the role as superintendent.” Did. That number is up from 43 in 2021, 41 for him in 2020 and 36 for 2019.
“Supervisors work 24 hours a day,” says Hayter. “It’s legislative, it’s community-driven, it’s school-driven. There are so many facets today, with additional staff and items that we couldn’t do 20, 30, 40 years ago.”
This is an important time for the state education system. About 25% of all school districts operate four-day schools due to teacher shortages.
“Some of the things I’ve seen in the last few years have really taken me by surprise. Five years ago, if you said this was going to happen, I would never have believed you,” Hayter said. rice field.
Hayter said he has been involved in education for nearly 40 years. He spent his 32 years in Southwest Missouri as a teacher, coach, and principal, but most of his time as superintendent. MASA is responsible for the Administrative Instruction Program of the Department of Primary and Secondary Education (DESE). This is her 10 hour program required for all her first year superintendents.
“We’ve seen an escalation in school board meetings with parents and school board members on a variety of topics,” Hayter says. “Probably more emotional and volatile than any time in my career I can remember.”
In 2019, 76 superintendents entered the new school term, compared to previous years. By 2020, with most school districts effectively ending the school year, that number had increased to 86, but had fallen to 83 by 2021.
“People in the pool as potential superintendents feel that stress,” Parnell said. doing.”
Parnell spent 24 years as superintendent. In his 42nd year in the field of education, he says the problems facing administrators now are intensified compared to when he was in charge.
“Looking back at my principal and my days as principal, I think the same problems exist today, but only magnified,” Parnell said. “There are fewer candidates. The pool is smaller, and that is the biggest challenge. increase.”
Within MSBA, Parnell said he is helping school districts find people to apply for superintendent positions. He compared the pandemic to a snowy day for administrators.
“Compared to a normal year, the really stressful days were the snow days,” Parnell said. “Well, with COVID, it’s probably even more stressful at any time of the year because you didn’t know what was coming.”
Both Hayter and Parnell attributed their rapid overthrow to stress. Of the 104 superintendent vacancies that have all been filled, but some are temporary, DESE previously said last fall that he had more than 3,000 open or unqualified jobs in classrooms in Missouri. said to be filled by
The State Board of Education created a commission to study teacher shortages and ways to keep teachers in the state. The Blue Ribbon Commission on Teacher Recruitment and Retention is made up of her 22 members from the business community, legislators and other educators appointed in the spring by the Missouri Board of Education.
Last month, the governor approved nearly $2.5 billion to raise the minimum wage for teachers from $25,000 to $38,000. Under this law, the state will pay 70% of her costs, and the county will cover the rest.
Missouri currently has the lowest starting teacher salaries in the country, averaging $32,970. According to the National Education Association, the national average starting salary for an educator is her $41,163.
In June, the state school board voted to expand test scores in hopes of getting more teachers certified. Tweaking state qualification scores could potentially add 500+ teachers to the workforce.
According to DESE, about 550 teachers miss a qualifying score of anywhere from 1 to 4 questions on the certification exam. These candidates have already completed a certification program but did not achieve a satisfactory score on the exam.