MMSD holds orientation for more than 300 new teachers amid staffing shortages

MADISON, Wis. — As the school year nears for the Madison Metropolitan School District, parents are thinking about school supply checklists and getting things organized to send their kids off to class in a few weeks — but some may be worried about whether a teacher will be standing in the classroom.

It’s not as ridiculous as it sounds — districts everywhere still need to make dozens or hundreds of hires, including Madison. MMSD says it’s working on the problem before the first day of school.

“This year we had the highest (number of) vacancies since 2017,” Superintendent Dr. Carlton D. Jenkins said. “This past spring and summer, we worked really hard as a team to grab new teachers in our district to fill the positions of the vacancies.”

Jenkins said earlier this summer, they had 571 openings within the district. At the new teacher orientation on Wednesday, more than 300 new teachers participated in workshops to prepare for the year ahead. 

MMSD teacher orientation

New teachers in the Madison Metropolitan School District gather for orientation on Wednesday, August 17, 2022. (WISC-TV/Channel 3000)

RELATED: Teacher shortages loom ahead of the new school year. UW-Madison’s School of Education is trying to help.

One of those teachers starting this year is Diana Murray. She’ll teach sixth graders at Sherman Middle School beginning this fall.

“I’ve seen the impact of teachers,” Murray said. “Why wouldn’t I want to be a teacher?”

Murray’s mindset about teaching is something the district is still searching for.

Mmsd Openings graph

“People need good support systems,” Murray said. “I’m going to try my best to be a good support system. I’m going to try my best to be the best teacher.”

MMSD’s first day of school is September 1 for 4K, kindergarten, sixth and ninth graders, and September 2 for the rest.

More information on teaching and other staffing positions are available on the district’s website.