Missouri teaching students being recruited by out-of-state distircts

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COLUMBIA - Missouri teaching students were able to meet recruiters from Missouri and other states Tuesday.

The Missouri Job Opportunities in Education job fair brought 114 groups to Columbia to recruit potential educators to their school districts.

Ninety-five of the groups are from Missouri and 19 are from out of state. Representatives from Kansas, Massachusetts, Kentucky, California, North Carolina, Colorado, Iowa and Alaska had booths set up.

Barbara Dean, a recruiter from Alaska, said the weather can be an important factor.

"We look for teachers in places where they may have cold or snow sometimes and we heard that Missouri is a good place and a good education program, so here I am," Dean said.

The University of Missouri, Central Methodist University, Columbia College, Lincoln University, Stephens College and Westminster College collaborated on the event.

Stephens College Director of Internships and Career Events Maureen Bernath said the job fair is a good thing for the smaller schools.

"These are all education, either undergraduate or graduate students, they're also folks in the community that may be looking for a new opportunity in they've been out of school for awhile," Bernath said. "It's a chance for a lot of the smaller schools to get all of our employers in one place."

In 2015, 5.8 percent of new hire teachers in Missouri were from out-of-state and that number has increased every year from 4.5 percent in 2012, according to the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

The demand for teachers is also at its highest since 2011. In 2015, there were 69,859 teachers in Missouri. In 2012, there were 68,896 teachers.

Russellville High School Principal Chris Mitchell said he doesn't worry about teachers leaving the state.

"When you look at young students coming out of college, generally there's an excitement about a potential to go out-of-state maybe, but what we notice is, in general, students that graduate high school in Missouri, where ever they go to college and wherever they're educated in Missouri, there's a calling to come back to the area," Mitchell said.

Student Courtney Kirby said she would like to stay in the area.

"For the first couple of years, I'm very interested in staying, specifically, in mid-Missouri; however, I am kind of interested in Missouri for quite awhile, but if the opportunity arises, I wouldn't necessarily shut it down right away if I had the opportunity to move outside," Kirby said.

Student Michael Toigo said he wants to call Missouri home for awhile.

"I definitely want to stay inside Missouri," Toigo said. "I've been raised here my whole life and I love living in Missouri my whole life, so staying in the state has always been a goal of mine."