Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Nassau Jabbed for Math Teacher Shortage Fernandina High in Crucial Need

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Nassau Jabbed for Math Teacher Shortage Fernandina High in Crucial Need

Article excerpt

Filling a vacant math teaching position at Fernandina Beach High School might be an equation Nassau County educators cannot solve.

A critical shortage of math personnel and a hiring mix-up has left one class of students with a pair of job-sharing substitute teachers. The Nassau County School Board calls it a solution, but some parents say it isn't the answer.

Evelyn Horky, a Nassauville resident whose son is in the class, told the School Board on Thursday that the situation is unacceptable.

Horky told the School Board that her son was not doing well in the class and blamed his performance on a lack of communication between the teachers. She said it wasn't fair for students to have two teachers teaching them the same subject.

"Other parents, I fully encourage you to get involved and listen to your students," she said. "All of them want to brush it off as a student problem rather than a teaching problem. Don't do a disservice and let this happen to other students."

While Nassau County educators think the situation is less than ideal, they say it's their only recourse.

Joyce Menz, director of staff and program development for Nassau County schools, said the school system had offered Canadian resident Carmen Kittel, a math teacher with 10 years of experience, the position in July. But immigration problems prevented her from starting the job in August.

"She came very well-recommended," Menz said. "We were especially glad to have her because of the shortage."

Joline Hewett, director of personnel services for Nassau County schools, said the school system hired an immigration attorney to help Kittel obtain a work visa but the paper work has still not come through.

Meanwhile, the school system hired two certified math teachers, Marla Reynolds and Cynthia Janney, to substitute. Both women are former Nassau County teachers who were not working by choice.

"We understand the complications," Menz said. "But, we felt like this was best for our students. If those two teachers hadn't have been willing to substitute, the only alternative might have been a substitute without math experience."

Menz said the school system did not anticipate the extent of the immigration problems or of the shortage of math teachers and that she thinks despite major recruiting efforts the Fernandina Beach High class will not have a permanent math teacher this year. …

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