While students in Jefferson County are enjoying a safe summer, administrators are working diligently to fill vacancies before school starts.
Several employees have left the district: Assistant Superintendent Cynthia Shrestha has taken a position in the Wakulla School District; Linda Hewett, Director of Personnel and ESC, is now at the Department of Education; Billy Epting, Director of Technical Support, and Jefferson High School Principal Michael Bryan are now working in the Leon County School District. Finally, the elementary school principal, Kathy Joyner, has been moved to the office vacated by Billy Epting.
The school superintendent says money is the major factor for some of the departures.
Phil Barker, Superintendent of Jefferson County Schools, says, "We've struggled to try to keep pace with our surrounding district with the salary scale and everything to director position, to administrator positions."
In the past few weeks, Barker has had interested applicants from across the country hoping to acquire one of those jobs. He says the School Board has increased the starting salary from $46,500 to $65,000 for new administrators and principals, making it easier to hire and retain qualified personnel.
The superintendent says he has a large pool of qualified applicants. He's hoping those hired will make a positive impact in the district, a district that's hoping to turn the tides with "A" schools and high morale.
The application deadline is July 11. Interviews will be conducted on the 13th. Those hired are scheduled to begin work on the 18th.