UPDATE: Hamilton County School officials are looking for about 300 teachers for the 2019-2020 school year

The education system held a recruitment fair at East Ridge Elementary School earlier Tuesday that more than 250 people attended.

Previously, the school system had a 26% turnover rate for first-year teachers during 2017-2018 school year.

The goal for this recruitment fair is to find teachers who will make a difference and stay on the job.

Erin Harrell with Hamilton County Schools explained, "We're looking for people who are passionate about teaching their love of science, of math, of English, of social studies and are really interested in a school and making a difference."

Principals like Dr. LeAndrea Ware of Howard High School says she wants teachers who will influence and encourage students.

"We’re actually looking for people who are going to love children, engage children and help them find real-world opportunities to learn about the things that will make them successful in life,” said Dr. Ware.

Dr. LeAndrea Ware also went on to say that Howard High School has a variety of positions available, especially with the middle school coming back online next August.

She will be hiring for interim positions as well as full time, a position that applicant William Alderman hopes to fill.

"I am looking for a good community, obviously the kids are important," Alderman says. "Kids I can connect with, actually build relationships with and also just being around great leadership."

Alderman teaches physical education and personal finance. At 25, he says seeing his generation struggle financially with things like student loans made him want to help.

“We need to be more passionate about teaching the next generation because credit cards are way too rampant and just realizing that if people knew how to spend their money, there will be a lot less debt and a lot less stress in people's lives,” said Alderman.

If you missed the event you can still apply by visiting the Hamilton County Department of Education’s website.

There will also be another recruitment fair in the spring. The date and time of that fair are undetermined at this time.

PREVIOUS STORY | PRESS RELEASE: Hamilton County Schools kicks off the hiring season with the fall Teacher Recruitment Fair on Tuesday, November 13 at East Ridge Elementary School.

Principals at the event will look for potential new teachers for their interim positions in the schools for the second half of this school year, and teaching positions to begin next school year in the fall of 2019.

High-quality teachers are the most important factor in student success.  That is why having great teachers and leaders in our schools is a key action area in the district’s five-year action plan Future Ready 2023

Hamilton County Schools is seeking teachers whose impact will make a difference in the lives of children to prepare students for success in life.

“Our fall recruitment fair is just one approach Hamilton County Schools is using to attract talented teachers to our schools,” said Keith Fogleman, chief talent officer for Hamilton County Schools.  “This recruitment fair is a great opportunity for new and also experienced teachers to connect with our principals and learn how the school system supports teachers in Hamilton County Schools.” 

Not only does Hamilton County Schools seek to attract new talent but the district focuses on supporting talented teachers already in our classrooms.  The district launched the new Teacher Academy this year to get beginning teachers off to a great start. 

Hamilton County Schools developed a year-long support system for new teachers through the new Teacher Network to continue to support new professionals.  Also, mentor teachers work with new teachers to get them through the first year.

“Not only are we committed to recruiting and selecting top talent, but we also are focused on retaining talented teachers with competitive total rewards, first class professional development, and opportunities to grow in their career,” added Fogleman.

Candidates interested in attending the event are encouraged to pre-register for the event at https://tinyurl.com/HCSFallSearch.

The fall recruiting event is from 5-7 pm at East Ridge Elementary School, located at 1014 John Ross Rd, Chattanooga. Hamilton County employs over 5,500 certified teachers and anticipates hiring about 300 teachers for the 2019-2020 school year.

Photo: Administrators Kristy Dillard and Phil Lannarone talk with teacher candidates at the recruitment fair held last fall.