Educators line up for Detroit recruitment fair

Mark Hicks
The Detroit News

Brian Murphy knows Detroit’s school district needs hundreds more teachers as the academic year approaches. And on Thursday, he joined about 150 potential hires at a recruitment fair to help fill those open spots.

“I’m looking for that opportunity to shine, to be the person I set out to be,” said the Metro Detroit native, who most recently worked at a charter school, while awaiting an interview for a social studies position.

Hopes were high for him and the others who met with principals and administrators Thursday evening at the fair at the Benjamin Carson High School of Science and Medicine.

Another similar event is scheduled Aug. 31 at the school as the district seeks highly qualified educators to fill positions for the 2017-18 school year, particularly in areas such as mathematics, social studies, special education and music.

Nikolai Vitti, the district’s new superintendent, said this week that 340 teacher vacancies — 243 in general education and 97 special education openings — exist in Detroit Public Schools Community District, which employs about 2,700 teachers.

The district also plans to continue seeking potential hires throughout the year, even if it means pursuits other than an enrollment fair, spokeswoman Chrystal Wilson said Thursday. “It’s going to be a constant effort to recruit talent.”

Thursday’s attendance was comparable to other fairs held in the last year, she added. “It was a good turnout.”

At the fair, interested job seekers with varying levels of experience gathered at tables, resumes in hand, to find a spot in the district.

Among them was Juanita Davis of Detroit, who is newly certified and recognized she needed to act quickly to find opportunities this school year. “Time is getting short,” she said.

Tessa Cross, who recently moved to Michigan from Ohio, was hoping to fill an opening at an elementary school.

“It was nice that they still had this going on, because most schools have already decided” on hires for the new academic year, she said.