District 55 teacher turnover lower this year even with cuts

School District 55 hired nine new teachers and a new head for the Community Learning Centers program this year, down from the 30 or more teachers the district has been hiring each year recently.

Several factors have played into a low number. Among them is the number of teaching positions, 11.5, cut as a result of decreasing enrollment the last two years.

Teachers whose positions were directly cut were moved to other positions.

Through resignations, retirements and reassignements, the district had to replace only nine teachers total this year with a total turnover of about 20 positions, more than a third less than it has been in recent years.

“There’s a teacher-administrator shortage across the United States,” Supt. Bill Hampton said. “Oregon’s part of that. Districts are still seeing a lot of turnover around the state.”

There are not many applicants for positions, Supt. Hampton said. The lower turnover in Sweet Home this year is hard to link to the slowing economy because the shortage remains.

“There seems to be plenty of jobs,” Supt. Hampton said. “There doesn’t seem to be a lot of people out there.”

In Oregon, five to seven years ago, there was a glut in the teacher market, Supt. Hampton said. Then Oregon cut back on training, and Oregon joined the shortage.

Three to four years ago, teachers were taking advantage of a good retirement through the Public Employees Retirement System, but that trend is slowing, Supt. Hampton said. “I think we’re through a lot of that retirement glut.”

The new teachers include the following:

Kathryn “Katie” Biltekoff, science at Sweet Home Junior High School. She has a bachelor of science degree in animal science from the University of Vermont, 1994, and will complete a master of science in science education from Oregon State University in December 2001. This will be her first year teaching.

Kitty Cline, SHJH special education and Sweet Home High School “Gateways” program. She has a bachelor of science degree in interdisciplinary studies and a bachelor of science degree in education from Concord College in West Virginia. She taught special education for one year in North Carolina and one year in West Virginia.

Luke Di Falco, math at SHJH. He has a bachelor of arts degree in mathematics from Humboldt State University in Eureka, Calif., and he is completing a master of arts in teaching degree from OSU. He has 12 years of experience in the business world as a computer programmer and analyst of database systems.

Connie Gienger, special education at Holley and Crawfordsville schools. She worked in the district as a .5 resource room and Title I teacher at Holley and Crawfordsville from 1996 to 1999. She has reapplied for theposition. She is a graduate of the University of Oregon with a bachelor of science in elementary education in 1972, a master of science in early childhood education in 1990 and a master of science in reading and language arts in 1992.

Pamela Gray, special education at SHJH. She has a bachelor of science degree and a master of arts degree from Oregon State University and master of science in education, emphasis on handicapped learners, from Western Oregon University.

Claudia Hatmaker, Community Learning Centers director. She has been director of numerous other projects over the years. She has a bachelor of science degree in Gerontology and Psychology, master of science degree in psychology and interdisciplinary studies and a doctorate in curriculum and instruction. All degrees are from University of Oregon.

David Kochan, instrumental music. He has seven years teaching experience in band, music and drafting/auto cad. He taught the past three years at Sherman High School in Morrow. He has a major in secondary music from the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

Jennifer Mellein, SHHS swimming pool supervisor. She has a bachelor of science degree in exercise and science with an emphasis in sports medicine from Willamette University, May 2000. She also possesses many water safety certificates.

Wayne Spinney, health and PE at SHHS. He has a bachelor of science in health and psychology and an MAT in health from Western Oregon University. This will be his first teaching assignment.

Dapnie “DeeDee” Webster, business education at SHHS. She has a bachelor of arts degree from Chapman University, 1995, and is working on her master of arts in teaching from Western Oregon University. This will be her first teaching assignment.