Bushnell-Prairie City schools fill over a dozen teacher vacancies

Published: Aug. 10, 2022 at 4:37 PM CDT
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BUSHNELL, Illinois (WGEM) - As the new school year draws closer, and has already began for some schools in the Tri-States, the search for new teachers continues.

Amidst a national shortage, Bushnell-Prairie City school district is entering the fall semester fully staffed. Superintendent Kathy Dinger said the district is welcoming 14 new teachers. She said this is the largest incoming class of new-hires she has seen in her 10 years at the district.

“I think small rural school districts don’t necessarily have a big presence, and so the openings might be unknown or potential staff might be unfamiliar with the resources that we have in the community,” Dinger said.

Dinger said B-PC doesn’t have a high turnover rate, but the district recently expanded educational programs which heightened the need for educators.

“We’ve expanded science at the junior high, so instead of having one teacher we’ll have two, and we also made a change in scheduling to promote literacy,” Dinger said.

On Wednesday, all 14 newcomers went through new-teacher orientation. Among the new-hires was sixth-grade English/Language Arts teacher Taylor Mullen.

Mullen said she knew she wanted to teach from a young age.

“I came from Arizona where we had students in a class room of 40 or 50,” Mullen said. “It’s very surprising to me, you don’t hear about many teachers coming to small town areas and I thought it would be hard for me but I’m blessed that it came this easy.”

For elementary physical education teacher Savannah Yurkovich, teaching was never the plan. After time in the National Guard, Yurkovich said she wanted to help students in rural communities.

“Having those relationships, building those relationships and getting to know the children because that’s what it’s all about,” Yurkovich said. “I want to create those relationships with the children and being in a smaller school would get that.”

Teachers report for the new school year on Aug. 15 with students returning on Aug. 17.

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