The last of 44 stops on Carroll's recruiting circuit, which included Pittsburgh, Washington, Dover, Del., and Columbus, Ohio, was Shepherd College in West Virginia.
As at all of the other stops, educators searched for "high-caliber" teachers at the Shepherdstown campus to fill vacant and new positions.
"We've been real aggressive the last four years," said Superintendent R. Edward Shilling of the district's recruiting program. "Our students are going to compete with kids all over this country. We need the best people teaching them."
FOR THE RECORD - In last Wednesday's paper, the photo of R. Edward Shilling actually was that of his brother, Joseph.
Educators believe Carroll's recruiting program, which kicks off in December and wraps up in mid-May, is working well for the district.
Like Shilling, William R. Rooney, Carroll's director of personnel, said the program has brought "high-quality" people into the classrooms.
Although the county's teachers, supervisors and administrators have spent months on the road looking for "the best and the brightest," Rooney said the hiring process will not begin until the school year ends next month.
Even so, educators have a good handle on prospective candidates, screened in 30-minute interviews during recruiting trips to some 50 colleges and universities throughout Maryland and the mid-Atlantic region.
After job fairs and college visits, recruiters follow up with letters and telephone calls to those candidates they want to see in county classrooms. Invitations to visit Carroll schools and the county are extended.
"We've had some excellent prospects," said David Humbert, a school psychologist who was among the recruiters sent to a Pittsburgh jobfair. "One candidate was a former priest. He's getting married. He was well-spoken and articulate; that's important if you want to teach."
Carroll has hired teachers recruited from the Pittsburgh consortium, one of the largest educational job fairs in the area,attracting about 1,000 applicants from Pennsylvania, Maryland, Ohio, Virginia and West Virginia.
"For some reason, the people we interview at the consortium seem to be high-quality people," Humbert said.
Some of those people will find positions in Carroll classrooms once educatorssort through retirements, resignations and transfers to the new elementary schools -- Piney Ridge in Eldersburg and Spring Garden in Hampstead -- to determine where teachers will be needed.
School officials also are awaiting the County Commissioners' action on the the board's proposed $110 million spending plan for fiscal 1992, which begins July 1. The budget calls for the hiring of about 65 teachers to staff the new schools and accommodate the 525 additional students expected to enter county classrooms in the fall.
"All the pieces of the pie will come together, and we'll know where we stand," Rooney said. "We're hopeful and optimistic that we will get the positions we need."
Subject supervisors have already interviewed student teachers --something Carroll does twice a year as part of its screening process. In mid-June, elementary supervisors will begin interviewing candidates gleaned from the recruiting process.
"That's when we start in-depth interviews," Rooney said. "They'll get into teaching techniquesand subject matters."
Last year, the district had 2,400 applicants to fill 113 positions, Rooney said. The greater the number of applicants, he said, the "better the chance of getting an excellent teacher."
"We're extremely pleased with the quality of applicants we've had," Rooney said. "Applications are flowing in at a record pace. We're going to be in a position where we can be very selective about whowe hire."
Rooney said the district receives more applications forelementary positions, where there are more openings. In contrast, hesaid, there are few applicants for special education positions.
"We've been successful in filling those positions, though," Rooney said. "We really have to work to get them. Keep in mind that Frederick, Howard and Baltimore counties are looking for special education teachers, too."
The district's goal is to hire teachers by Labor Day. School begins the following day.
"The bulk of the hiring is done between the end of the school year and the end of July," Rooney said. "We have a good history of being completely staffed by the time schoolbegins."