Want to Teach? OCSD Hosts Job Fair at Edge Elementary

The Okaloosa County School District (OCSD) will host a job fair at Edge Elementary on Saturday, April 1, from 9 am to 11 am. The fair is free and open to anyone interested in joining the OCSD team for the 2023-2024 school year.

The school district says it has a variety of career paths available and “welcomes career changers, veterans, and military spouses to come and explore the opportunities on offer,” according to a press release from school district Public Information Officer Catherine Card

The district will host the fair hoping to lure the best and brightest teachers to Okaloosa County to educate students. The District has its work cut out for it – Florida continues to face a teacher shortage statewide. 

Shortage of Teachers Statewide in Florida

Okaloosa County has 2,072 teaching positions allocated in the school district budget – fully staffed; there would be about one teacher for every 15.44 students. In school year 2021-2022, according to The National Center for Education Statistics, the district had about 1,850 educators on staff. That is about one teacher for every 17.3 students. Both student-to-teacher ratios are far below the requirements the Florida State Constitution lays out for schools across the state (22 students per teacher for 4-8th grade classrooms and 25 students per teacher for high school classrooms). However, Niceville High School (24.68 students/teacher) and Ruckel Middle School (21.62 students/teacher) are closer to the constitution’s maximum than other schools in the Mid-Bay area or the rest of the district. 

The number of teachers in Okaloosa County, supplied by the district, includes standard classroom teachers, guidance counselors, elementary electives, band directors, psychologists, social workers, speech, and other specialties. Currently, the distrct has 49 open teacher positions around the county. that’s a vacancy rate of 2.3%. 

Statewide, there is a teacher shortage. The Florida Department of Education reported in the 2022-23 school year, students could expect ‘critical teacher shortages’ in English, Exceptional Student Education (ESE), General Science, Reading, English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL), Math, and Physical Science. “The shortage areas above represent certification areas where substantial proportions of teachers who are not certified in the appropriate field are being hired to teach such courses, where significant vacancies exist, and where postsecondary institutions do not produce enough graduates to meet the needs of Florida’s K-12 student population,” the report added.

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The Florida Education Association is the Teachers Union in the State of Florida.

According to the Florida Education Association (FEA), the resulting teacher shortage in the state has come to pass because of “more than a decade of bad policy” at the state level. They propose the state legislature: 

  • Increase funding for public schools. The FEA says Florida is “44th in the nation for funding education”
  • Add funding for school counselors, social workers, and psychologists
  • Repeal laws, they say, hold teachers pay down
  • Raise pay for teachers –they claim Florida’s salary for an average teacher is 48th in the nation.
  • Allow for longer-term teacher contracts 
  • Introduce teacher mentoring programs
  • Prioritize recruiting racial and ethnic minorities by doubling state funding for the Florida Fund for Minority Teachers 
  • Support expansion of teacher training programs at colleges and universities in Florida
  • Provide financial support for college students who major in education and become teachers 
  • Eliminate fees for teacher certification
  • Add paraprofessionals to high-poverty schools
  • Support neighborhood public schools

About Okaloosa County School District

The Florida Department of Education has ranked Okaloosa County School District as an A-rated district for the last two decades. Mid Bay News has a complete dossier on all public and private schools open to Niceville-area students. 

The school district is coterminous with Okaloosa County’s borders and includes all public, non-charter schools therein. Okaloosa County School District has roughly 32,000 students and 52 schools (special needs, elementary, K-8, middle, and high schools) — the district employs approximately 1,850 educators.

Details about the Job Fair

Representatives from all of the county’s schools will show up to the event. Candidates can speak to principals and district administrators about their schools and what they have to offer educators. 

Anyone interested can register for the fair by calling 850.833.5855.

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