Houston turns to Orlando's Puerto Ricans to fill teacher shortage

By Paula Machado, Reporter
Last Updated: Friday, December 08, 2017, 4:24 PM EST

Facing a critical shortage of teachers, Houston has turned to Orlando, targeting teachers from Puerto Rico displaced by Hurricane Maria.

  • Houston in Orlando this weekend trying to recruit teachers
  • Nation's 7th largest school district has severe teacher shortage
  • Hoping to attract Puerto Rican teachers displaced by Maria

A Houston school district recruiting team is at the Hampton Inn on Universal Boulevard near International Drive for a career fair this weekend, looking to fill more than 50 teaching positions.

The Houston Independent School district is the largest in Texas and seventh largest in the nation. Right now, they have a crucial shortage for bilingual teachers who speak English and Spanish.

The starting salary for a teacher in Houston is about $52,000, said Juan Santos, the senior manager for teacher recruitment with the Houston school district. For teachers who are certified bilingual, there's an additional $4,000 stipend.

The recruiting team has been in the Sunshine State for a few days; Miami was its first stop. The team's final stop is in The City Beautiful. It's answering questions, interviewing teachers and even offering those who would like to start teaching a chance to do so.

“We’re trying to find as many teachers as we can," Santos said. "We even have our very own alternative certification program, so if there are professionals who want to become teachers and how to become certified, we also have that ourselves."

Candidates are asked to bring their teaching certificates, college transcripts, and/or a copy of their bachelor’s degree.

Houston teacher career fair

  • WHERE: Hampton Inn Orlando International Drive/Convention Center, 8900 Universal Blvd., Orlando, 32819
  • FRIDAY: Dec. 8: 3 p.m. to 8 p.m.
  • SATURDAY: Dec. 9: 8 a.m. to noon