Thu May 24, 2012
School districts could have trouble filling agriculture teacher positions
Several school districts in Wisconsin will be looking for agriculture teachers in the near future, and one state education specialist says it might not be easy for districts to find what they're looking for.
Fifteen agriculture instructors in Wisconsin retired during the last school year, and another eight are expected to hang it up at the end of this year. Jeff Hicken is an Agriculture Education Consultant with the Department of Public Instruction. He’s not sure if all of the openings are going to be filled for this fall. Hicken says Wisconsin has two college agriculture education programs, at UW-River Falls, and UW-Platteville. He says many of the graduates find jobs in other states.
"I’m nervous this year we’re not going to find I don’t think, I know we don’t have the teachers coming out of the program from fall and this semester to fill the programs,so we’re not sure what’s going to happen there," he says.
As of this month, Hicken says there are over 15 Wisconsin school districts looking for agriculture educators. In Western Wisconsin, Cashton Public Schools found their teacher. But, District Administer Brad Saron says the school district had to act fast because the candidate pool was, in his words, fluid.
"We were getting people who were accepted to be interviewed and then earned a position some where else, and even with our finalists positions we had two finalists that had offers on the table from other school districts," he says.
There are some school districts that aren’t looking to replace retired instructors. One high school in Milwaukee is hoping to hire its first agriculture teacher in 30 years.