By Victor O'Brien
Killeen Daily Herald
A Killeen ISD Job Fair drew more than 600 teachers to the Killeen Civic and Conference Center on Saturday.
The second of its kind for the Killeen Independent School District, Saturday's job fair had more than 600 people register in advance, more than doubling the estimated 300 people who attended last year's job fair, Executive Director of Personnel Steve Cook said.
The fair attracted teachers from throughout Texas and from out of state as well. Tracy Ross traveled nine hours from Morton, Miss., to seek a job in the area. She said a cousin in Nolanville recommended the area. Ross was impressed by the incentives offered to new teachers and the stipends provided for teachers to engage students in the classroom.
Cynthia Potvin, principal at Venable Village Elementary School on Fort Hood, was impressed by the quality of the applicants. As an administrator, she looks for a specific character in her teachers in addition to experience.
"I want somebody that loves children, not just likes them," she said. "Also, someone who understands the military child."
She said a face-to-face interview can reveal the right candidate.
"When you talk to somebody, you see it in their heart, the twinkle in their eyes and the commitment in their voices," she said. "It's more than just ABCs."
Cook believed KISD's reputation as a district focused on teachers and students allows it to attract highly qualified applicants.
In addition to filling the routine turnover of 300 to 350 spots that happens during the summer, the district had vacancies in special needs, speech therapy and reading in content area teacher after the school board approved those new positions at a meeting at the end of April. In addition, the district had critical needs in physics, chemistry and math, Cook said.
Mike Berger, Liberty Hill Middle School principal, hired three special-needs teachers from Bell County on Saturday, which saves him from the usual routine of spending the summer trying to fill those other vacancies.
"(The job fair) is a really great way to take care of everything in one place – all the way from interviewing to hiring," Berger said.
The district employed more than 5,800 teachers for about 38,950 students in 2007-08, according to the KISD Web site. In addition to job fairs, KISD recruits at Texas universities that have colleges of education and on the Internet, Cook said.
Contact Victor O'Brien at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7468.