200 new teachers ready to go in Berkeley County

By Hans Fogle in News
MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — Berkeley County Schools will welcome 200 new teachers to classrooms across the county on Monday.

Dr. Bill Queen, president of the Berkeley County Board of Education, said it has been a challenge this year to fill vacancies.

“We just didn’t have as many great applicants as we’d like to have,” Queen said. “We also have almost 200 openings, so it’s hard to find that many people.”

Queen said as of Tuesday there were 15 vacancies to be filled with 164 full-time teachers and 20 permanent substitutes hired. He credited the human resources department with making sure the needs of every classroom were met.

“Through recruiting efforts going outside this area and doing everything they can to find highly qualified, certified teachers in every field,” he said.

About 173 new teachers joined local business leaders, elected officials and veteran teachers for the Martinsburg-Berkeley County Chamber of Commerce’s 45th Annual New Teacher’s Breakfast Tuesday morning.

Sarah Stocker, who started as a third grade teacher at Berkeley Heights Elementary School in January 2016, is preparing to begin her first full school year there. She said that despite some higher paying opportunities in nearby communities, it was important to her to be giving back to the community.

“I wanted to start my career off in West Virginia,” the Martinsburg native said. “I grew up in West Virginia, I was raised in West Virginia so I wanted to start in West Virginia.”

Stocker said Berkeley County Schools has been a good employer, offering her a lot of support as she got started midyear.

The student population in Berkeley County is more than 19,000 heading into the new school year, and officials expect new students as the year progresses.