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School District hires 80 from hundreds of Job Fair applicants

Don Coble
Posted 5/9/24

FLEMING ISLAND —Every elementary school set up a table with goodies and decorations inside the Fleming Island High cafeteria Monday night to attract  a talented group of new teachers for the …

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School District hires 80 from hundreds of Job Fair applicants


Posted

FLEMING ISLAND—Every elementary school set up a table with goodies and decorations inside the Fleming Island High cafeteria Monday night to attract a talented group of new teachers for the 2024-25 school year.

Some offered candy and trinkets. Others had squeaky toys and magnets. Every school official was energetic and outgoing. And everyone had an excellent job for the right candidate.

It was a dynamic market, with some applicants getting more than one offer. The Clay County District Schools prepared 250 job fair packets for the two-hour event, and they were gone with 45 minutes remaining. With so much interest and so many openings, another 20 were admitted for interviews.

School officials rang a red cowbell when someone accepted a conditional offer. At times, bells rang once a minute.

Kacee Wolfe used to live in Clay County, but she moved to Orlando. She came home to help her parents. She wasn’t sure what to expect at the job fair, but 30 minutes after arriving, she walked away with a position as a second-grade teacher at Argyle Elementary.

Ciara Viner and Michael Boots are Jacksonville teachers but live in Green Cove Springs. They came to the job fair and were quickly hired by Clay High Principal Dr. Jen Halter.

Those kinds of stories were repeated throughout the event. 

“I looked at the school ahead of time, but not really knowing the elementary schools around here, it was more of a blind choice,” Wolfe said. “Argyle was the only school I talked to.”

As she approached the cafeteria, two members of the Argyle staff approached Wolfe on the sidewalk and directed her to their table. Schools were very competitive in finding suitable candidates.

As Wolfe took the job, assistant principal Shannon Neese escorted her to the Human Resources table to complete more paperwork. Then, they posed for a photograph celebrating the hiring.

“I really liked her excitement for the profession and some of the instructional things that I look for in a good teacher,” Neese said. “She spoke immediately about standard-based instruction and building positive relationships with students. Those are some things we pride ourselves on at Argyle.”

According to the district, 80 jobs were offered at the fair.

Viner and Boots moved to Green Cove Springs because they liked the “small-town feel” and thought it was the best place for their children to grow up. They were also tired of their 80-mile roundtrip drive to a Jacksonville school. When they told Halter they taught English and Algebra, she immediately offered them a job.

She rang her cowbell and yelled, “I got a two-for-one!”

And they live about five minutes from the school.

“It just seemed right for us to be part of the environment in the county we want our kids to grow up in,” Viner said. “We didn’t think it was going to go that fast. We talked to the principal and two assistant principals. It went pretty fast, so it was nice.”

Boots said he’s eager to start work at his new school.

“We’re excited,” he said.

“Everything we’ve heard about Clay High has been good,” Viner said. “This is a great opportunity.”