HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) -- As school districts throughout the state begin their teacher recruitment for the upcoming school year, districts like Horry County are searching far and wide for the best recruits both in and out of state.
“It’s a never-ending process,” said Mary Anderson.
Anderson has spent her entire career with Horry County Schools serving as a teacher and principal.
At last year’s recruitment fair, the school district offered 80 contracts to teachers as they looked to fill 250 teaching positions.
“What we’re looking for is certainly a passion for education,” said Anderson.
Regina Trapp-Golden left her job in banking to chase her passion of education and is one of 500 candidates hoping to get a position with the district.
“Just getting that initial opportunity is very nice,” said Trapp-Golden.
This year Horry County Schools is looking to hire between 100 and 150 teachers throughout the district and have a variety of candidates from more than 23 different states to choose from.
“It’s a great feeling to give a teacher their first job and see the passion and excitement,” said Trevor Strawderman, Principal at North Myrtle Beach High School.
The recruitment fair isn’t just an opportunity for new teachers out of college to find that first job, it's also a chance for teachers with years of experience to start a new chapter.
“I think having a diverse faculty is critical, because we have diverse students,” said Strawderman.
South Carolina lawmakers are also working to increase teacher salaries, which could help bring more teachers to the state.
According to the National Education Association the average teacher salary in South Carolina is just over 50,000 a year.
“My mentality is more that I’m there for the students, the option of any salary at this point is great,” said Trapp-Golden.
Last year’s high demand for teachers in Horry County was significantly impacted by the shutdown of the Teacher and Employee Retention Incentive Program, designed to entice experienced teachers to stay in the classroom beyond their typical retirement age.
The school district will now begin sending out job offers to teachers for the upcoming school year.