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By Tara Cavanaugh
The first Ann Arbor Public Schools Teacher Fair was packed Thursday night –– and it was only half as full as it could have been.
More than 300 teachers filled a gym at Pioneer High School, and just as many RSVP’d after the deadline, said Cindy Ryan, the director of human resource and legal services.
The Teacher Fair was intended to be a casual job fair and meet-and-greet, Ryan explained. “We’re trying to be a little more proactive, have it earlier, before the other job fairs, to try to get some good applicants.”
The district does not have any teacher openings right now, “but we always have some, even when we’re doing a lot of reductions,” Ryan added. The district often learns of retirements and resignations at the end of the school year and needs to fill those positions with new staff by fall.
AAPS Superintendent Dr. Patricia Green greeted the teachers and acknowledged that the district is a highly desirable place to work. “We have a tremendous teaching staff that shows ceaseless dedication to the students, administrators who provide incredible instructional leadership, a school board that supports public education and a community that values the arts,” she said.
“We want you to know that in this school district, educators are valued,” Dr. Green added. “Educators are the leaders of our future generation of children.”
The hopeful applicants were grateful for the opportunity to mingle with 30 AAPS teachers and administrators.
“I’m hoping to get a better feel for what they’re looking for in an applicant,” said Lynne Bozeman, who’s been an art teacher for ten years. “Ann Arbor is so artsy. The thought of being an artsy teacher in an artsy community would be like going to art heaven.”
Aisha Malek is student teaching at Carpenter Elementary School and is working on her elementary M.A. certification at the University of Michigan. U-M has a unique partnership with Mitchell Elementary and Scarlett Middle School, and Aisha has been a part of that program too. “Every experience I’ve had through this program has been so great,” Malek said. “All the teachers and staff I work with are just so on board and enthusiastic.”
“The curriculum is a lot better than most school districts anywhere,” said Nathan Willis, who works as a substitute teacher. “AAPS is really appealing.”