Teacher Shortage in Rural Florida?

The school year is open and so are thousands of public school teacher jobs in the state of Florida. Rural communities have a tough time recruiting teachers, but things may be looking better.

Nearly 2,000 teacher jobs are vacant throughout Florida.

Suwannee County has managed to start this school year with only three unfilled slots.

Mr. Herron, a grandparent, said, "We do need more teachers, good ones. We could always use them, that way the kids will learn more. Suwannee County's a good place to be."

A good place to be is motivating Valerie Jones to pursue her degree to become a teacher. She plans to stay and continue working for Suwannee County Schools.

Valerie Jones said, "Once I came and got enrolled and enrolled my children, I was very, very pleased. They have the equipment that they need to teach the children. It's a better environment for the children as far as learning. It's a lot more safe."

School officials say the district does not share in the statewide teacher shortage because the county has a lot to offer and salaries are competitive to the area, and there are people like Lawanna Zimmermann who help keep positions filled.

Lawanna Zimmermann said, "I have family here. I grew up here in Suwannee County and it's just home for me. I never wanted to move away from here."

Superintendent Walter Boatwright says the vacancies are from last minute resignations, but he's confident they'll be filled soon. Taylor County is also in good shape, starting the school year only two teachers short.