Volusia County Schools recruiting internationally to help address teacher shortage

VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. — When Volusia County students return to class Monday, many of them will have teachers from foreign countries.


A cultural exchange program has placed teachers from three different countries in the district.

READ: Orange County Public Schools starts school year with shortage of teachers, bus drivers

When students walk into Christal Stewart’s eighth grade pre-algebra class, they’ll be met with more than just math.

“I will be trying to set up a Jamaica section in my classroom,” Stewart said. “The food, the history of Jamaica and all that.”

Stewart left Jamaica to help fill holes in Volusia County Schools during a national teacher shortage.

She says the process was painless thanks to an international staffing program called TPG.

READ: First day postponed: Power outage forced Brevard County school to shut down

“In terms of booking our flight, what we should pack, all the organization...it was just smooth,” Stewart said.

The district’s recruitment coordinator, Tiffany Fuller, says twenty teachers from the Philippines, Jamaica, and Ghana are working in Volusia County this school year.

Even so, Fuller says the district still has more than 100 teacher vacancies, so she’s thankful for the program’s support.

“They are able to do the recruiting internationally, and then by virtue of certification and what our area of needs are, we do interviews,” Fuller explained. “It’s just like if I was interviewing a teacher from Ohio and we hopped on a Zoom call and we did an interview that way.”

READ: Orlando police escort fallen officer Kevin Valencia’s son to first day of school

Stewart is looking at the move as a once in a lifetime opportunity, personally and professionally. She believes the students she spends time with will benefit as well.

“It’s very important for you to learn about another person’s way of life so you can appreciate more,” Stewart said. “Learn how I do things, why I do it the way I do it.”

Click here to download the free WFTV news and weather apps, click here to download the WFTV Now app for your smart TV and click here to stream Channel 9 Eyewitness News live.