'Recruiting War' at ASU jobs fair for soon-to-be teachers

Posted by Bryan Henry  -  bio | email

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) --Kim Hendon had a special assignment at the Acadome at Alabama State University; sell the Roanoke City School district to prospective teachers, education majors who will graduate in May from ASU.

A 23-year veteran, Hendon knows the proration issue in Alabama is out there. Still, this elementary school principal tries to keep it all in perspective.

"It's always been a challenge with the budget in Alabama and all that. I don't worry about that," said Hendon.

Neither does Steve Potts, representing the Bentonville, Arkansas, school system.

"I'm not here for public relations. I'm here to hire teachers," said Potts, Executive Director of Human Resources for the Bentonville Public Schools system.

Potts makes no apologies. He's using proration in Alabama as a recruiting tool for Arkansas. Potts says there are no education budget cuts in Arkansas. Potts says he's gotten 50 applications and hopes to make job offers to at least 5, maybe more.

"We're a growing district about 4,500 kids a year," said Potts.

Steve Potts believes he has the upper hand in another area.

The starting salary for teachers in the Bentonville school system with no experience is more than $42,000 a year.

"We're adding positions every year," said Potts.

Whereas Linda Carstarphen who will graduate in May from ASU will start out earning around $26,000 a year if she stays in Alabama.

"If you love what you do you take the good with the bad," said Carstarphen.

Education majors at Alabama State University insist they go into the field not because of the money but because they believe they will make a difference.

"The education of the student is the most important thing," said Chantrice Whiting who will also graduate in May.

That's what Hendon wants to hear.

In fact, Hendon is finding that applicants are more mature, more prepared perhaps than ever before.

"The economy has forced them to do that. The know the job market is so competitive. Grades are better and they're doing a lot of volunteer work," Hendon said.

From the classroom to the real world Chantrice Whiting and Linda Carstarphen are beginning to see just how competitive landing a teaching job really is.

A real-life education in itself.

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