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HomenewsSpiller Is Appointed by The Governor to Serve on A State Commission...

Spiller Is Appointed by The Governor to Serve on A State Commission to Address Teacher Shortages

The mayor of Montclair, New Jersey, Sean Spiller, was recently nominated to serve on Governor Phil Murphy’s Task Force on Public School Staff Shortages in New Jersey.

Additionally, Spiller serves as president of the New Jersey Education Association, a statewide teachers organisation with over 200,000 members. Since September 1st, 2021, he has been in his position.

According to a press release issued by the United States Department of Education on September 27th, more than two-thirds of public schools reported that not enough qualified applicants were applying for positions at their schools, and 53 percent reported feeling understaffed heading into the 2022-23 school year. Between August 9, 2022, and August 23, 2022, data were gathered from 900 different schools.

Governor appoints Spiller to state task force on teacher shortages

In addition to vocational and technical education, English as a Second Language, mathematics, science, and world languages, New Jersey also reported a shortfall of special education teachers to the United States Department of Education for the 2021-2022 school year.

A press release from the governor’s office on December 8 stated that Spiller is one of the 25 members of the task force who are tasked with providing initial recommendations to Murphy by January 31.

Other members of the task force include school administrators and staff members, school board representatives, and union leaders. Murphy’s top policy advisor, Dennis Zeveloff, will preside over the meeting.

In an email, Spiller said, “I was delighted to be asked to sit on the task force by the governor to represent the NJEA along with three other NJEA educators who bring extensive and diverse experience to the table.”

He claims that school administrators and NJEA members bring up the issue of teacher shortages whenever he travels to schools around the state.

In response to the governor’s request for early recommendations, Spiller promised that “much more” would be forthcoming.
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Murphy stated in a news release he issued on December 8 that, “As we emerge from the pandemic, we must acknowledge the impact that teacher shortages in our state and across the nation will have on our economy, the arts, and civic society.” My administration is still dedicated to finding ways to alleviate this shortfall, and I have faith that this task committee will bring the fresh eyes and years of expertise we need to find those ways.

As part of his plan to address the issue, Murphy stated in September that the state will no longer mandate the useful Teacher Performance Assessment.

“On Thursday, Jonathan Ponds, superintendent of schools in Montclair, praised Governor Murphy for his efforts to alleviate teacher staffing shortages around the state. We hope the task force’s deliberations yield fruitful suggestions and insights.”

As for the district’s experience with teacher shortages, Ponds declined to comment for this piece. The district’s director of human resources, Damen Cooper, has discussed the district’s attempts to broaden its search for qualified teachers at meetings throughout the past year.

Cooper has stated that he wants to ensure the district has access to diverse talent across the state and area by expanding the district’s network of universities and colleges and cooperating with historically Black schools and institutions along the northeast corridor. Teachers need to feel appreciated by the district after they’ve been employed, he added.

Cooper stated at a board meeting on August 8 that “people don’t leave positions they like.” If they don’t have a sense of community at work, they won’t stay.

Governor appoints Spiller to state task force on teacher shortages

The Montclair Education Association and parents of students in special education reported in September 2021 that the district did not have enough teachers to staff its special education classrooms. There were four openings in special education, according to David Goldblatt, temporary director of student services.

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During a school board meeting in December 2021, Jerilyn Mullen, the nurse at Renaissance at Rand Middle School, expressed concern that some district nurses were being negatively affected by the lack of a nursing supervisor. The position has since been filled by the district.

There were more than 40 unfilled openings for support staff as of the 16th of December, in addition to the 38 teaching positions posted for elementary, middle, and high school.

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