A new effort for recruiting a diverse group of new teachers is underway in the Erie School District, which is focused on racially diversifying their staff so that all of their students can feel more familiar, regardless of their race or ethnicity.
The efforts involve recruiting local young professionals to enter the teaching profession, and also searching for potential new teachers who live within three hours of Erie. Major cities targeted include Cleveland, Buffalo, and Pittsburgh.
According to the district’s first coordinator of educational equity and diversity, Ken Nickson, the long term goal is to encourage minority students in the district high schools to return to the district as teachers. This includes emphasizing teaching as a potential career choice for high school students.
“We want to keep pushing that model,” said Nickson at a recent board meeting.
Racial diversity is also a focus of Superintendent Brian Polito. The goal is that all 11,500 students feel comfortable, regardless of their race, gender, or sexual orientation.
Almost 60 percent of the district students are nonwhite. The 814 member teaching staff is approximately 97 percent white.