tampabay.com

Teachers dive into district vacancy pool

By LETITIA STEIN
Published May 26, 2007


"Where is Lithia?" asked Catalina Mendioza Feller, interrupting two other teachers studying the job vacancy list.

"I am looking for Spanish, anything Spanish, " she explained. The only Spanish position was in Lithia.

She has no idea where that is.

Anxious teachers pored over maps of school locations Friday at Hillsborough's annual spring teaching pool, where instructors whose positions were eliminated can find jobs at other schools.

Many of the 700 teachers displaced from elementary, middle and high schools were able to find similar jobs during a transfer period. About 460, slightly more than last year, had to enter the teaching job pool.

By the afternoon, only a handful had not found positions.

Shefali Bakshi, 29, taught family and consumer sciences at Chamberlain High. She was low on the seniority list. The few available jobs were quickly snapped up.

She picked a job close to her home in northwest Hillsborough. Does she know what it was?

"No, " she said, rushing out.

Feller, 50, the Spanish teacher, left smiling. She won't have to travel from her Carrollwood home to east Hillsborough to find Lithia. School officials found her a job teaching English as a second language close to home.

About 25 teachers ended up in the final group, left to pick from what remained on the vacancy list. Most were forced into subjects they aren't certified to teach. They pledged to work toward becoming qualified.

Unless they can find a better teaching job over the summer.

Letitia Stein can be reached at lstein@sptimes.com or 226-3400.