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February 19, 2014

Filling the gaps: Minority teacher recruitment on tap at recent Suwannee County meeting

Live Oak —

The Suwannee County School Board held a community meeting at Triumph the Church and Kingdom of God in Christ on Tuesday, Feb. 11. The purpose of the meeting was to inform the public of the board’s Minority Teacher Recruitment Plan.

Suwannee County School Director of Human Resources, Dr. Bill Brothers invited long-time educator and colleague, Malinda Jackson James Ph.D. to present suggestions and strategies to help improve the district’s minority teacher hiring practices. 

“We’ve enlisted the support and help to develop our minority recruitment plan,” said Brothers.

 

Consultant perspective

James began by saying she consulted with Brothers and Superintendent Jerry Scarborough on why they wanted to change and how to improve their minority recruitment plan. She read their mission statement and found it to be noteworthy.

“They told me they believed all districts should have a diverse population of people working on the professional level as well as non-professional,” said James. “So, Suwannee County recognizes the need for greater diversity within their teacher and administrator force.”

James said their research found that diversifying minority teacher recruitment promoted creativity, productivity and good citizenship. It was also believed that children needed to see role models they could identify with. 

James said she met with district principals to reiterate how important it was for them to take the information to the teachers so everyone was “marching to the same tune” for the betterment of the children they serve.

“We are moving forward to getting more highly qualified minority teachers and administrators in this school district because we believe it is the best thing for the students here to be successful,” said James.

She said with the current hiring policy, it was clear to her that it was the intent of Suwannee County Schools to be fair and equitable. James suggested they make a revision in the current policy by adding administrative, instructional and non-instructional employees to be assigned to serve on interview committees.

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