“We’re bringing in at least 20-25 international teachers this year. These are people who are certified teachers in their home countries that are coming over and interested in teaching in America,” says Riverview Gardens School District Spokesman, Ishmael Sistrunk.
Visas are in the works for the 20-plus teachers who are coming to St. Louis from overseas to teach in the classroom.
This comes as substitute teachers became long-term and permanent for K-12 Riverview Gardens students.
“If we have teachers that are out, there may be times where we have to combine classrooms,” says Sistrunk.
This international hiring decision is a result of the nationwide teacher shortage according to the district.
The National Center for Education Statistics reports 45 percent of public schools have at least one vacant position.
“North County is not exempt from those issues, and it’s just posed a challenge in staffing. There have been over a million people who have left education,” Sistrunk says.
In addition, Hazelwood schools are also in need of more teachers.
The district has dispersed flyers to get retired teachers onboard with incentives of setting their own schedule and working from home.
The St. Louis City Public School District is also struggling to get educators. As of June 2023, there are 279 open teacher positions.
“This is a district that has made so many changes over the last several years and so many improvements both in the schools themselves and also in the environment that we provide for our employees,” George Sells of St. Louis Public Schools.
Riverview Gardens plans to host a career and hiring fair on June 22, July 13, and July 27 from 4–7 p.m. at 1370 Northumberland Drive.
The international recruits are expected to begin teaching in the district on the first day of school scheduled for August 21.
“We know our children are worth it.”