Fort Worth ISD hired Fort Worth resident Rashane Hallman, 28, on the spot on June 7. Hallman worked in real estate but will now take on a new role as a family engagement specialist at Maudrie M. Walton Elementary School, where she attended as a child.

“It’s scary. If we don’t take a chance to educate our kids, how will they get their education?” Hallman said. “I’m excited. I’m nervous … It’s like being in an education Army.”

Hallman went into the interview with no prior experience in schools but feels excited to work with families. She is a mother with children in the district herself.

Hallman was one of about 40 new hires at Fort Worth ISD’s Summer Mega Career Fair on June 7 at the Teaching and Learning Center, 1050 Bridgewood Dr., where over 100 district schools looked for personnel from teachers to custodians.

“We’re experiencing a higher-than-usual vacancy rate with people resigning for personal reasons, as their lives have been impacted by COVID-19,” Raul Peña, the chief talent officer at Fort Worth ISD, said. “Our goal is to try to revitalize people’s understanding of schools.”

Schools were particularly looking for bilingual and Spanish-speaking teachers, Peña said. Oaklawn Elementary Principal NaNedra D. Golding hired four Spanish-speaking teachers at the fair — three of which had bilingual certification — for the predominantly Spanish-speaking school.

“I have a high need for bilingual teachers and it’s been hard, but today was a great day,” Golding said. “There’s a need. There’s always a need.”

Golding hired a kindergarten, first- and third-grade bilingual teachers, and a third-grade English as a second language teacher.

W.M. Green Elementary Principal Edra Bailey also looked to fill teacher vacancies, and got some prospects but didn’t hire anyone on the spot.

“We are looking for teachers, teacher assistants, librarians. All of it,” Bailey said. “Where I generally don’t lose teachers, I had teachers retire.”

Some teachers at her school, and across the district, have taken pay cuts to work at jobs closer to home, Bailey said. However, she saw prospects eager to be in schools.

Fort Worth ISD offered $2,000 – $4,000 sign-on bonuses to teachers who signed on before May 1, Peña said.

Cristian ArguetaSoto is the community engagement journalist at the Fort Worth Report. Contact him by email or via Twitter. At the Fort Worth Report, news decisions are made independently of our board members and financial supporters. Read more about our editorial independence policy here.

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Cristian ArguetaSoto

Cristian ArguetaSoto is the community engagement journalist at the Fort Worth Report. He can be reached at cristian.arguetasoto@fortworthreport.org or (817) 317-6991.