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Teacher applicants get a taste of Jefferson

School system has good turnout at job fair

POSTED: February 20, 2009 12:17 a.m.
SCOTT ROGERS/The Times

Jefferson city schools Chief Financial Officer Kim Navas gives the dozens of teacher applicants an overview of the school system's benefits Thursday afternoon during a teacher recruitment fair at the Jefferson High Performing Arts Center.

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JEFFERSON — The Jefferson City School System is giving prospective employees a taste of what life is actually like in the town.

Instead of holding its annual teacher recruitment fair in Athens, as the system has done for the past several years, the fair instead was held in the Jefferson High School performing arts center.

"Before, we had it in Athens because we wanted it to be convenient for recent graduates," said Sherrie Gibney-Sherman, school system associate superintendent for instructional services. "Our recruitment fairs in Athens were successful, but we wanted to have it in Jefferson to show the (applicants) where they were (potentially) coming to."

Although many area school systems have held annual teacher recruitment fairs, Jefferson is the only local school system to keep up the tradition this year. Both the Hall County and the Gainesville school systems fairs were canceled this year. Forsyth County has announced that its annual job fair, which was to take place next week, has been postponed and has not been rescheduled.

Despite relocating the fair, school officials say turnout remained strong.

"We’ve had around 130 people inquire about the fair (in advance)," said Kim Navas, school system chief financial officer. "That doesn’t mean that they all will come, but the interest is still there."

Thirty minutes into the event Thursday, about 20 job seekers had held interviews with principals at their prospective schools and about 60 more were waiting to be seen, with a line of teacher hopefuls waiting in to sign in.

Attendees at the event ranged from recent college graduates to veteran educators.

"I’ve been at job fairs where there have been thousands of people, so coming to this smaller one is actually refreshing," said Colleen Rogers, a graduate student at Piedmont College.

"Coming to this smaller fair is like a ray of sunshine, especially considering the current economy."

Rogers, who lives in Flowery Branch, is student-teaching in Gwinnett County, and she says she hopes to find a full-time position with a smaller system like Jefferson’s.

Like Rogers, all of the 100-plus applicants in attendance were hoping to secure a position with the system.

"The (fair) is more so to gather a pool of qualified candidates for any available position we may have," Gibney-Sherman said.



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