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Plymouth Schools Working to Fill Vacant Teacher Position

July 11, 2013
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  07/12/13 Administrators at the Plymouth Schools continue to seek to fill teacher vacancies for the upcoming school year. Although many of the positions have already been filled, principals are still in the process of conducting interviews for a few remaining openings.

On Wednesday, Menominee Elementary Principal, Michael Dunn, and Jefferson Elementary Principal, Angie Mills, collaborated with telephone interviews with nine candidates for an opening for second grade at Jefferson. Mills said “The corporation received 1, 100 applications for elementary positions and 80 of those were specific to Jefferson.” The Jefferson opening was only posted last week.”

Dunn said, “We must be doing something right at Plymouth for people to want to come to Plymouth Schools to teach.” He pointed to the use of technology, innovations, the Innovation grants that the corporation continues to receive, students and staff as draws to the Plymouth Schools.

Dunn said, “We use team approach- two to four administrators- for interviews at a time. This collaborative approach brings validity to the process and helps eliminate biases.” He explained that the process is referred to as “inter realtor reliability”. Both Dunn and Mills had to go through the same process when they were hired.

The selection process starts with an online application that includes questions with many filters to find those candidates most in line with the corporation’s core goals and values. Dunn said, “The online screener (Ventures in Excellence) accounts for the 10-12 percent who bubble up to the top.” Mills said they look at applicant personalities, credentials, academic backgrounds, professional goals as well as whether they are student centered. She said, “We take notice of extracurricular actives as well since we are looking for well-rounded candidates.” Principals are required to verify references that are listed on applications. Dunn said the selection process takes about two hours per candidate to narrow down the list. The elementary level telephone interviews take approximately 45-50 minutes on average, according to Dunn. Dunn said, “The telephone interview saves applicants both time and money that they would have to use to interview in person at this point.”

Plymouth High School Principal ,Jim Condon, just filled the final opening at his building with the hire of a visual arts teacher. He had to fill seven positions for the 2013-2014 school year.  Condon said they follow certain guidelines in the process including knowledge of the content area and certification. He said, “We look for innate ability to build lasting relationships with students-in other words, “ people skills”.’ He said “I think people have innate interpersonal skills-either you have them or you don’t.” he said, “When we do telephone interviews that usually last an hour, we use an assessment score to establish those for a second interview.” He said, “We have been trained in how to score these assessments.” “The onsite interview is largely done by the team of teachers. Administrators may participate in the interviews of simply oversee the process.” Condon said.

Once a final list of candidates is formed, those chosen must go through onsite interviews with administrators and with representatives of the entire school staff. Prior to the final interviews, administrators must check  references listed on the applications and candidates are then asked to pay for a criminal background check.

Final recommendations for hire are forwarded to Superintendent Daniel Tyree for review. Tyree said, “I’m not going to micro-manage their choices as long as they follow our HR (human resource) procedures.” The final decision is made by acceptance of the candidate by the Plymouth School Board.

Dunn said they strive to have all new hires on board before the new teacher orientation that occurs in the first week of August.

According to Superintendent Tyree, new legislation requires that they hire in teachers on the same pay scale whether they have many years of experience or are just starting their careers. New teachers are hired on a one-year contract. He explained that there are opportunities for teachers to receive extra stipends through a three-step process of going from teacher to lead teacher and finally a senior lead teacher. Tyree said the idea came from former Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction, Tony Bennett. He said, “Assistant Superintendent Dan Funston helped to negotiate the particulars with Plymouth staff and has developed the process for the corporation.”

2013-2014
New Staff by Building
PHS – Chantel Vinson – Health and PE
Parker Terry – Vocal Music
Faith Colling – Art
Leslie Condon – Temp FACS Teacher
Samantha Schwartz – Math and Physics
Jessica Ring – English Teacher
John Johnson – Science
Jeffrey Corso – English (also at WSOI)
Lacy Buck – Science
Jacob Riley – Agriculture Teacher (also at WSOI)
LJH – Lauren Mielke – 7th & 8th Grade Science
Meghan McCarthy – 7th Grade Science
Riverside – Ryan Welch – 5th Grade LA/Social Studies
Megan Moser – 6thGrade Math
Todd Williams – 6thGrade
Jefferson – Meg Schnieders – Special Ed
Jessica Campbell – 3rdGrade
Dawn Cody – 1stGrade
Menominee – Taylor Tice – Art (will also teach at Webster)
Washington – Taylor Brown – 1stGrade
Kristin Flint – 2ndGrade
Elizabeth Morris – 3rdGrade
Kaitlin Gustafson – 4thGrade
Brooke Hulse – Kindergarten
Webster – Elizabeth Schmucker – 1stGrade
Bethany Gudeman – Mild Intervention

Carol Anders Correspondent

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