SAN ANTONIO – School districts across the state are facing a teacher shortage, and Northside ISD is looking at creative ways to get certified educators into the classroom before the start of class.
The district is making a concerted effort to rehire retired teachers for the upcoming school year.
“There is part of me that really misses the team working together, something bigger than yourself, and we desperately need teachers,” said Mary Mack Prince, a retired teacher who will return this year.
Prince taught for 28 years before retiring in December 2020 for family reasons.
“I’ve taught elementary, middle school and high school. The last 14 years were in FCS here in Northside,” said Prince.
Even though she retired, Prince’s passion for teaching never left. She’s returning to teach Family Consumer Science at Jordan Middle School.
“It comes down to the students, and I love working with students. I love making connections. Every child needs a teacher in their life that believes in them,” said Prince.
“We find ourselves, like many districts across this state, still working to fill vacancies in very critical areas such as special education, English, math,” said Barry Perez, NISD assistant superintendent of communications. “Reaching out to this group of a very valuable resource pool allows us to meet that commitment of making sure we have a certified teacher in every classroom.”
Perez said the district still had 233 teacher vacancies as of Friday but had rehired 23 retired teachers.
For a teacher to be rehired, they must have been retired for at least one year and meet all TRS and NISD qualifications. Retired teachers will be rehired for a one-year contract.
“That retired individual, who is eligible, will continue to receive their annuity. They receive their salary from Northside, and the district, as we are required, will pay that 16% surcharge,” said Perez. “In previous years, many retirees may remember when districts had the option to push that charge to the employees. That is no longer an option, and we want to make sure that we get that message out to individuals who might be interested.”
Rehired teachers will also benefit from the recent 3% salary increase for all employees and, if employed with NISD by Sept. 1, will be eligible for a 1,200 retention payment.
“What better resource to have in the classroom than an individual, an educator who is certified, who spent their life teaching students in the classroom?” said Perez. “They bring a wealth of experience, not just to that classroom. And for those students, they bring a wealth of experience to that school and the colleagues that they’re going to be working with.”
Prince is excited to get back to class and views this opportunity as a win-win situation.
“I know teaching is hard. If you have never been a teacher or worked in education, you really can’t fully understand how difficult it is. But the rewards are so great,” said Prince. “I’m prepared. I love making connections. I love that I can encourage a child to believe in themselves.”