It’s hiring time for the School Board of Highlands County, which has a large group of retirees coupled with the addition of nearly 40 new teaching positions to bring back the teacher planning period to the middle and high schools.
The district recognized some of its retirees Tuesday at a reception at the district offices and at the school board meeting. Overall, 65 teachers, staff and administrators will retire at the end of the 2012-13 school year.
Sebring Middle School will have seven retirees and will be adding a few teachers for the planning period.
Principal Sandi Whidden said in her 12 years as principal, she has never had so many retirees and never had to fill so many positions.
Two years ago she had no new hires and last year she hired one or two teachers, Whidden said.
She will likely hire six to seven teachers, Whidden noted. Principals hire the teachers while the district office fills support staff positions such as clerks and food service workers.
Whidden said she was interviewing Thursday for a math position and will interview for a social studies position next week.
“I’ve already hired two language arts positions,” she said.
She is happy for the school’s retirees such as teacher Tom Libby, who has been around a long time, Whidden said. “But, he’s got other things he would love to do in life so I’m happy for those people. Sad for us, but happy for them.
“This is good because it is giving people an opportunity to get a job and we know what the economy is like.”
The district will likely hire more than 100 employees (teachers and support staff) to fill positions due to 65 retirees and 38.5 new teaching positions to bring back teacher planning. Also, there will likely be a few vacancies due to non-renewals of teacher contracts and resignations.
At Tuesday’s retirement reception, Libby said he will be moving to Hayesville, N.C. where his wife will be a nurse and he will be a retiree.
“I can’t take the Florida sun anymore; my skin has been burnt too much,” he said. “Too many summer camps in the Florida Keys, that’s the problem.
“I had a great time here; I wouldn’t trade it for the world,” Libby said.
At Tuesday’s school board meeting, Human Resources Director Vivianne Waldron said the 65 retiring employees represent 1,486 years of collective on-the-job experience with the school district.