Filling teacher vacancies has become one of the most significant challenges facing school administrators across the United States. With education staffing shortages draining resources, districts need support in finding qualified substitute teachers to stabilize their teacher pipeline.
Polk County Public Schools (PCPS) in central Florida educates 110,00 students in 159 schools. A sizable district, it employs more than 6,500 teachers who generated about 152,600 absences for the 2022-23 academic year. Since 2014, PCPS has teamed up with Kelly Education to deliver impressive results in filling those vacancies.
Fill rates that get an A+ from the principal's office.
At the building level, the partnership has had a transformative impact says Haines High School Principal Adam Lane, who is also the 2022 Florida Principal of the Year. The foundation of his teacher pipeline strategy lies in the substitute teacher services provided by Kelly Education.
"The biggest stressor for principals is filling vacancies with a good quality person—a dependable educator, a communicator, a peacekeeper, and someone you can trust with our students," Lane said.
He calls the support from Kelly Education "a lifeline" at Haines, which has a staff of 200, including 174 teachers. On any given day, the high school can have up to 18 absences. The company consistently fills these gaps with an astounding 96% fill rate—a grade that Lane describes as "an A+."
Education is business—and that requires partnerships.
Understanding the importance of treating education like a business, Lane has witnessed firsthand how Kelly Education saves districts time, money, and resources. He appreciates the data-driven approach, which allows him to make informed decisions based on fill rates and percentages.
"They break it down per year, per month, per week, per day—we all need to make data-driven decisions and offer the right incentives for those hard-to-fill days," he said.
With Mondays and Fridays being particularly challenging due to district and state trainings, Lane says he can't imagine a day without Kelly Education on his team. The reliability ensures that students can keep learning.
In addition to the impressive fill rates and resource savings, the partnership is more than mere numbers. He says the team is committed to fostering relationships, ensuring that every substitute teacher is not only qualified but also genuinely cares about the well-being and success of the students they serve.
"Any substitute teacher who comes on my campus, I make sure I meet them and screen them along with the Kelly Education staff. So that resource is amazing." This level of personal interaction and dedication to quality underscores the value that they bring to the table.