By David Hotle, The JOURNAL
While summer is only just beginning, the Washington School District is working hard to ensure it has enough special education teachers to cover the need in the district when fall classes begin.
During the regular Washington School Board meeting Wednesday evening, the board withdrew a request on its consent agenda to transfer an existing district teacher into a special education role for the coming school year. Superintendent Jeff Dicks said this is an option that may still have to be used, but with several interviews of potential teachers and paraprofessionals coming up, he is hopeful the positions will be filled without using this option.
?We just have extra openings right now,? Dicks said. ?It is a tough-to-fill area. It is an area that takes extra endorsements. This is just one of those times that we have a lot of openings.?
During the meeting, he said that the school district has five openings for special education teachers and 17 openings for paraprofessionals, who assist in special education classrooms. Dicks said there are 13 interviews coming up this week.
Dicks said the positions can be filled up to the beginning of school on Aug. 23. He said the paraprofessional openings should be easy to fill, but teachers are more difficult.
He said because this is June, many teachers are already signed up for school districts and the number of teachers seeking positions is lower.
Dicks said that he is confident the school district will be able to fill the positions before the beginning of school. He said that he did not have the fear that the school district would not be able to provide service as a result of not having enough special education teachers. He said that in his time as a superintendent he has never had a time he couldn?t fill a position.
?We will get it,? he said. ?We always do.?
People interested in applying can go to the website teachiowa.gov where all openings are listed. He also said interested parties can come to the district office for more information.
The school board meeting also marked the last meeting for the Washington district Dicks will do in his role of superintendent. In March, the school board accepted Dicks? resignation as superintendent of the Washington Community School District, as reported in The Journal. Dicks accepted a position in his former district Newell-Fonda School District as superintendent. William Stone has been chosen to be the new superintendent for the Washington District and will be in the district next week. Stone has 13 years of experience as a superintendent and leaves his current position as superintendent in the Southwest Valley Community School District, which has Corning and Villisca Community Schools in it.
Dicks told the school board he and Stone have been friends for years and that Stone can easily contact him with questions.