Brick School District Not Immune To Worker Shortage

Photo by Judy Smestad-Nunn

  BRICK – The school district is hiring at nearly every level, and the administration is hoping to get the help they need from the community.

  “Brick schools are not immune to the challenges nation-wide regarding staffing,” said Director of Human Resources William J. Kleissler during the most recent Board of Education meeting. “We currently have vacancies within several departments such as teachers, secretaries, maintenance, nurses and transportation workers.”

  There is always a need for substitute workers, especially this year, he added. The district needs substitute teachers, teacher’s aides, secretaries, nurses, bus drivers and custodians, he said.

  Brick schools are looking for people “to join a great team with flexible hours and days, and can work around your schedule,” he added.

  Whenever full-time vacancies occur, they are posted immediately on the Human Resources Department tab at the top of the school’s home page, or on the bottom at the Employment link, Kleissler said. Vacancies are filled as soon as possible and with as little interruption as possible, he added.

Superintendent Dr. Thomas Farrell addressed the worker shortage nationwide and locally. (Screenshot by Judy Smestad-Nunn)

  Superintendent Dr. Thomas Farrell said there is a workforce shortage, statewide and nationally.

  “We do have openings, and even applications have dwindled, where they may have been over 100 at one point – say for an elementary teacher – they’re nowhere near that,” he said. “People are leveraging jobs so…we can and need to ask the community for help.”

  Dr. Farrell said there are many openings for all of the positions listed above, plus paraprofessionals, special education teachers and teachers with certifications.

  “We are constantly in HR and with all of our departments doing…rolling postings and rolling interviews and hirings throughout that process,” he said.

  The school administration has tried to reduce the time it takes to get through the “bureaucracy” of the hiring process to reduce the time between job openings, he said.

  Board of Education President Stephanie Wohlrab noted that there has been a change in legislation regarding credits needed for substitute teaching.

  That’s true, Kleissler said. Until recently, 60 college credits were needed to substitute teach. Last month, that was changed to 30 college credits with some guidelines attached, including the requirement that they are at least 20 years old, which would make recent graduates eligible, he said.

  During public comment, several parents came to the microphone to ask whether Critical Race Theory (CRT) would become part of the curriculum. It is currently not taught in New Jersey schools or in any public school in the nation.

  Dr. Farrell said CRT came out as a theory in the decades ago. He said that most teachers don’t even know the specifics of the theory.

School officials, like Board of Education President Stephanie Wohlrab, have had to address shortages in applicants. (Screenshot by Judy Smestad-Nunn)

  Critical race theorists argue that American social life, political structures and economic systems are founded upon race, and that systemic racism stems from the dominance of race in American life.

  “Critical Race Theory…cannot be put in curriculum because it’s a theory, so if you’re telling me that the state is going to come down the pike in a few years and say this is part of your curriculum as a standard…somewhere along the line this theory needs to be shown that it’s proven, not proven…and I don’t think that has happened,” the superintendent said.

  In a recent interview, Miguel Cardona, Secretary of Education under President Biden, said that CRT is currently only being taught in law schools.

  The next Board of Education meeting will be on Thursday November 18 at 7:00 p.m. at the Professional Development Center.