The need for substitute teachers has stabilized in Putnam County after shortages during last school year.
Putnam County Schools HR Director Angie Knight said the substitute teacher pool currently sits at roughly 270. Knight said there will still be challenges keeping the pool at the ideal number with expected drop outs.
“We sent them a notice at the end of the school year saying, do you want to continue to sub with us?” Knight said. “We’ve tried to update our pool as best we can. So we will continue to do that and continue to add, probably around 300 is the optimum number.”
Knight said that sounds like a large number, but the system has to consider the fact of having almost 900 teachers. Knight said adding substitutes returned to normal in the spring semester, however there are consistent issues finding substitutes to work on Mondays and Fridays.
“We used a temporary agency to help us during the COVID peak here in Putnam County and that worked well,” Knight said. “We just got creative and did some different things to keep someone in the classroom with the children.”
Knight said that focusing on recruiting at Tennessee Tech has been a huge help to the staffing pool. Knight said that when candidates apply, the system meets with them to get qualified candidates ready for the classroom.
“We screen them and see which ones are good candidates for us,” Knight said. “We try to have a meeting monthly meetings to add that group into our sub pool.”
The school system considered additional ways to add incentives for substitute teaching during a school system retreat. That included another pay increase and having full-time substitutes that rotated around schools.
Currently the pay is $75 for a sub without a teaching license, $85 for a sub with a teaching license and $115 for teachers that retired from the Putnam County School System.