District 117 Optimistic About Open Positions Getting Filled

By Benjamin Cox on May 19, 2023 at 9:10am

Jacksonville School District 117 currently has 23 open positions heading into the next school year. That number is better than the previous month, when it sat at 27.

Superintendent Steve Ptacek says recent measures like increasing pay and incentivizing long-term substitutes to get their certificates are beginning to work to fill gaps in the district: “We’ve been finding people. There are a lot of things that the HR Department and our staff is doing. We’ll keep working on it. We are really hoping that remember last year we had a drastic increase in the lower end of our contract. That happened so late it wasn’t able to capture people from right out of college, even from other districts to be attracted to come to Jacksonville School District. We’re hoping that with it being out there now that this will be another opportunity for everybody to see that this is a good place to come and make a very good salary as an educator in West Central Illinois.”

Ptacek says conversations are still taking place with Illinois College and other area institutions to create a local pipeline of teachers: “There were some early conversations with Illinois College for adults who are not certified teachers. We had one discussion and I think we are going to be meeting sometime soon – maybe in the next month – to talk about that again. We’re talking not just about Illinois College. We are open to any of our educational facilities that would offer us the opportunity to get our adults that are not certified, that don’t have a license to get those licenses and certifications and be able to get into or stay in the classroom.”

The biggest needs in the district are for special education teachers at all levels and for positions at JHS and JMS.

In personnel action on Wednesday night, the District 117 School board accepted resignations from Eisenhower Elementary teacher Ashley Boarman, Jacksonville High School nurse Mariah Ingram, JMS Social Studies teacher Nicholas Walker, JHS Counselor Megan Waterstraat, and JHS Head Girls Basketball Coach Brandon Radford.

The board also approved the hire of JMS Assistant Principal Timothy Roberts, JMS Math teacher Molly Haskell, JMS Special Education teacher Maddey Haddick, and JMS Language Arts teacher D’AJahnae Croft.

The board also approved the promotions of Lincoln Elementary paraprofessional Jessica Clinton to Family & Consumer Science teacher at JHS and JMS Nurse Monica Martin to Nursing Coordinator to District 117.