Florida teacher shortage: Lake County looking to fill 200 open positions

With a teacher shortage across the state of Florida, more than 150 people showed up Thursday to apply for teaching jobs with Lake County Schools.

Shelley Brown was one of them - and exactly the kind of person they're looking for.

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“I was a customer service rep for a hat company in Missouri,” Brown said.

Brown said the work gave her an important perspective that she can bring to the classroom.

“Students need to be able to apply skills they learn in the classroom, whether it's math, reading, science, or anything else, they have to be able to put those skills to use to be able to earn a living.”

This school year there were more than 2,200 open teaching  positions across the state. The State Department of Education calls it a "critical shortage" Lake County school leaders taking an innovative approach, by welcoming  people in different fields who want a change of pace.

“We're always looking for those folks who want to change their career and have a little more fun in their life working with kids,” said Chad Farnsworth, Lake Co. Asst. Superintendent.

There were 33 school at Thursday’s event, and across the county they're looking to fill about 200 positions. They say by the end of the day, they expected to make 30-50 offers to candidates and said they were looking to keep the teachers they had.

“We're also looking to improve teacher retention and hold on to the teachers we have and train them up. So recruiting and retention are our ways of combating the teacher shortage,” Farnsworth said.

District officials are recruiting teachers at all levels and subjects, and guidance counselors.