7 US applicants, but BoE picks a foreign teacher


An Australian teacher with a temporary work visa has won a Fayette County drama teaching slot over at least seven U.S. applicants.

It was an agreement between the Fayette County School System and Global Teachers Research & Resources, Inc. that would place a drama teacher with a Global work visa at McIntosh High School. The vote on the measure ended in a 2-2 vote at the June 29 meeting and a 3-1 vote two weeks later.

School system Human Resources Director Reanee Ellis in introducing the proposal noted that Fayette had used a different company in the past to place hard-to-fill positions such as hospital homebound teachers, occupational therapists, physical therapists and speech therapists.

Ellis told board members that McIntosh had seen five different drama teachers in the past several years. She said McIntosh staff had interviewed seven candidates for the position and had requested that the school system “cast a wider net” for additional applicants.

The Global teacher, an Australian national with a bachelor’s degree and three years experience, was “heads and shoulders above the rest,” Ellis explained.

McIntosh Principal Lisa Fine was also present at the meetings to advocate for the placement. Fine at the July 13 meeting said the position had been temporarily filled by a long-term substitute since February. She said her belief was that the Global teacher was the best person to help grow the drama program.

Ellis explained that under the one-year contract the drama teacher would be a Global employee and would receive no benefits from the Fayette County School System. The cost to the school system would be the $36,133 salary and an $8,000 administration fee to Global that would include the teacher’s benefits. Ellis said the total would amount to a savings of $6,000 if the teacher were an employee of the school system.

“This is essentially a cultural exchange,” Ellis said, adding that, as a Global employee, the teacher would have no due process rights and would be on a year-to-year contract.

Board member Bob Todd asked what would happen if an issue came up with any teacher that is not employed by the school system. Ellis responded, saying that both Global and the school system check out potential teachers and that if problems did arise they would, ultimately, be referred to Global.

Todd in his response said his concern was not with the particular teacher but with the process that included having a school system position filled by a company rather than continuing to search for a teacher that would be a Fayette employee.

Board member Janet Smola at the July 13 meeting asked Fine if she could continue to advertise the position. Fine said she could do so though that outcome might be the hire of a lesser candidate.

The June 29 vote on the measure was 2-2, with Smola and Chairman Terri Smith voting in favor and Todd and board member Marion Key opposed. Brought up again July 13, the vote was 3-1 in favor of the Global hire, with Smith, Smola and board member Lee Wright supporting the measure and with Todd opposed.