PHOTO: Catherine Stephens, associate director of Teaching and Learning for the Franklin Special School District, interacts with Fred Hodson, a teacher in an Indiana school system who attended the FSSD job fair on Saturday. / Photo by John McBryde
By JOHN McBRYDE
At its first-ever job fair Saturday at Poplar Grove Middle School, the Franklin Special School District saw a wide range of people interested in possibly working for the district.
Officials met college students looking to start their teaching career after they graduate in May, as well as retirees seeking part-time work to stay involved in a school atmosphere. They greeted teachers from other districts looking to make a change, and even interacted with candidates from other states.
And in at least one case, the FSSD employee recruitment fair welcomed a spring-breaker.
Fred Hodson, who lives about an hour and a half north of Indianapolis and is an elementary physical education teacher in Mississinewa Community Schools, has been in the area on vacation with his wife and decided he would take the opportunity to check out FSSD.
“I heard about Franklin Special, and today I’m finding out just how special this district is,” he said.
“What I have found out at this job fair is the professionalism, the passion and the joy of the administrators. They don’t seem worn out or beat down. They’re creating an emotionally safe place for kids to learn, meeting their needs before even addressing the education side of things. This is a beautiful thing.”
More than 100 applicants came through the two-hour recruitment fair, as the district is seeking not only teachers but also bus drivers, custodians, food service staff, child care staff, substitute teachers, paraprofessionals and others.
“Considering it’s our first one, I am impressed with how smoothly it has gone,” said Alisha Erickson, principal at Poplar Grove Elementary School. “The applicants have been excited to spend more face time with the principals and administrators.
“I anticipated a strong turnout because I feel our district puts a strong emphasis on the people who work in our district and those who want to work here.”
Like Hodson, who taught at Franklin Road Academy from 1995-98, Kim Beard was also an out-of-state candidate with plans to relocate to the area and possibly find a position with FSSD.
“I’ve heard really great things about the district,” said Beard, who taught for four years in Williamson County Schools and has been with a school system in Alabama the last two years. “They have small class sizes, great benefits. They really do a good job in supporting their teachers with resources, professional development and things of that nature.”