Hillsborough County Schools Creates Teacher Pipeline To Help With Shortage

Teachers are in high demand right now.

Hillsborough County Schools currently has about 400 open teaching positions, and in response to this teaching shortage, the district partnered with local universities to create the “Transformation Fellowship Program.”

What You Need To Know

  • Hillsborough County Schools currently has about 400 open teaching positions

  • New “Transformation Fellowship Program” created to find new instructors

  • The idea is to create a pipeline of teachers, ready to work in Hillsborough County Schools

  • More Education headlines

The “fellows” are all either recent college graduates, or students about to graduate, who want to pursue teaching as their career. As part of the fellowship, they receive hands-on training in the county’s most vulnerable, high-need schools.

Officials say the idea is to create a pipeline of teachers who are ready to work in Hillsborough County Schools.

“For me, it’s helped because it’s like I get to have on-the-job training with someone who I’ll be able to keep on board,” said Forest Hills Elementary Principal Regina Gordon. “And I think for all the schools that have the opportunity to have the fellows, that’s really the biggest help so far.”

Keishara West is one of the fellows in the program. She and her family moved to Hillsborough County from Pensacola less than a year ago.

“We are a military family,” West said. “I’m a United States Navy Veteran, my husband is just retired — chief, last year.”

Even though her military days are behind her, West’s skills are still very important in her new teaching career.

In the classroom, she goes by Ms. West.

She just took over a second grade class at Forest Hills Elementary after their original teacher quit, and because she was a part of the Transformation Fellowship Program, West said she was able to hit the ground running.

“Everything is going well, the children are adapting well to me, they are listening and no two days are the same,” she said. “That’s the beauty of education.”

On this particular day, her class was working on their mindsets, doing some yoga and affirmations. Thanks to the fellowship program, instead of various substitutes filling in, the students will have Ms. West there every day for the rest of the school year. 

Gordon said West is a lifesaver.

“She has been here right on time,” she said. “She was able to fill in in a couple of really big gaps that we had here with teacher vacancies and she’s just jumped right in and been able to help two different, big groups of students.”

West said she’s incredibly grateful to be a part of transforming not only Hillsborough County Schools, but also her students.

She will graduate with honors from Saint Leo University in May with her bachelors degree in educational studies, and she plans to stay at Forest Hills Elementary next school year.

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