Lee Co. welcomes 70 new teachers

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Published: Jul. 27, 2022 at 7:06 PM EDT
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LEESBURG, Ga. (WALB) - Lee County is welcoming in nearly 70 new teachers’ counselors and administrators. With school starting next week, staffing was at the top of their minds.

Kevin Dowling, the assistant superintendent, said staffing is always something they’re worried about, but this year was different.

“This year, there were just more spots to worry about than previous years, so it caused more worry and more concern,” said Dowling.

Kevin Dowling is the assistant superintendent over personnel and student services.
Kevin Dowling is the assistant superintendent over personnel and student services.(WALB)

He said the teacher shortage is real, adding that teacher burnout has made the turnover rate substantially higher.

“In the past, folks would work past 30 years. Now you have more people that are leaving at 30 years than were leaving before,” said Dowling.

Dowling said higher pay and schedules have led people to look for jobs outside of education.

“It’s a very high-pressure job. It’s not just going to school and teaching, it’s what you bring home supervision before and after school parent meeting emails and night and grading papers,” said Dowling.

That commitment makes people like Daniel Laster whose been in education for 12 years an important asset. He’s the new Assistant Principal for Lee County Middle School East.

“You wake up instead of saying, ‘oh I got to go teach, you get to teach’ (to) you get to mold the clay of students. I feel like there’s nothing greater than to see the lightbulb come on for a student, “said Laster.

During his first year, he’s hoping to bring energy into the school system and make an impact.

“We only have them for 8 hours the world had them for 16. If we can impact their lives for those 8 hours we can make such a world of change,” said Laster.

Daniel Laster is the New Lee County Middle School East Assistant Principal
Daniel Laster is the New Lee County Middle School East Assistant Principal(WALB)

Although there were concerns about filling open positions, Dowling said they’re about there, but they did have to make adjustments.

“Special education was one of those that had to make adjustments to caseloads, but teacher wise we’re just about there,” said Dowling.

The first day back for students is August 5.

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