HAMPSTEAD -- Ann Kelleher remembers Carroll recruiter Mark Vigliotti "practically chasing" her across the Ohio University campus to persuade her to join the county's teaching staff.
"I remember the interview so vividly," Kelleher said. "It was, 'Boom! This is Carroll, wouldn't you like to teach in Carroll? Look howbeautiful it is?' It was such a sales pitch. I didn't even think I was interviewed."
While student teaching at Hampstead Elementary School, where Vigliotti is assistant principal, Miriam Larson heard thesales pitch every day.
"It was, 'We are the best because we educate our teachers. We have a very professional staff and atmosphere. Don't you really want to work here?' " Larson recalled.
FOR THE RECORD - A student in a photo that was part of our May 29 teacher recruiting series should have been identified as Claire Brumfitt, 10, a Hampstead Elementary fourth-grader.
The pitch worked -- Kelleher and Larson now teach at Hampstead Elementary.
For Vigliotti, it was a matter of finding the best for the county, if not for his own school.
"Our approach is that we're going to put thebest in the classroom," he said. "There are a lot of good candidatesout there, but you have to go out and look for them."
Vigliotti did more than look for them. Once he found them, he followed up interviews with letters and phone calls inviting them to Hampstead Elementary and the county. Although he couldn't guarantee teachers a job at Hampstead, he invited them to visit other county schools.
"He talked my name up in other schools," recalled Kelleher, a fifth-grade teacher. "He asked me to promise not to sign a contract with anybody elseand to please come and visit Carroll."
Vigliotti was recruiting at a teacher consortium at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio, when he discovered Kelleher, who graduated with a bachelor's degree in elementary education in 1989.
"Even though I had never been to Carroll, I was interested in teaching there after listening to him," Kelleher said. "It became a job I had to have. I have to be good enough to teachthere."
Unlike many other school districts recruiting teachers, Carroll's approach was informal and relaxed, the 23-year-old said.
"A lot of districts were very rigid," Kelleher said. "It was, 'Maybe we'll be able to talk to you after you fill out these forms.' "
Both Kelleher and Larson, a fourth-grade teacher, were offered jobs with other Maryland school districts but chose Carroll.
Larson, who graduated from Western Maryland College last year, was sold on Carrollbecause of its curriculum and beginning-teacher program as well as Vigliotti's enthusiasm.
"They really help you that first year," said Larson, who has a bachelor's degree in psychology and a minor in education. "They pretty much hold your hand, offer you support and build your self-esteem. When the superintendent tells you that you're thecream of the crop -- among the 60 hired out of a pool of 1,000 applicants -- you feel pretty good."
Kelleher said her college education courses prepared her for the "modern method of teaching" in Carroll, which includes the integrated language arts and hands-on science programs.
"Some of my friends got jobs elsewhere in school districtsthat are behind Carroll," she said.
Larson, 25, who also was a student teacher at Mechanicsville Elementary, said that when visiting schools in other counties, she was surprised by their outdated curricula and lack of teaching materials.
"It's incredible; everything weneed is here," she said. "I didn't have to worry about buying materials out of my own money."
Both said Carroll's salaries -- about $23,000 for a beginning teacher -- were competitive with those of othercounties.
Class size, which has irked many Carroll parents, was not a concern to either Kelleher or Larson.
"The classes were no larger than in Coolville, Ohio, a little town in the middle of nowhere," said Kelleher, who did her student teaching there. "Class size wasn't an issue."
Although both like their jobs, they said the profession has brought some surprises, such as a work load heavier than expected and the social work involved in dealing with students.
"I thought there would be a lot of work the first year," Larson said. "But I didn't expect as much. I work an hour before and after school and then another hour and a half at home."
Kelleher arrives at school at 6:45 a.m. and stays until 6 or 6:30 p.m. to grade assignments and complete other paper work.
"I stay to get the work done," she said."If I took it home, I'd work on it until I went to bed."
"It's one of the hardest things to learn to manage," Larson added.
Both find their jobs and the profession rewarding, though.
"My friends told me not to waste my time teaching," Larson said. "They said there'sno money in it.
"But when you see the light go on in a kid's facewhen he finally picks up a concept -- it's amazing. To have a parentsay 'Thank you, my son is reading books,' is very rewarding."
Teaching hiring analysis, 1986-1990
Field... ... ... ... .. 1990.. ..1989...1988...1987...1986
Art.. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. 2.. .. ..1...... .. 5
Business education.. .. .. 0.. ... .. .. ..2... ..1
Elementary.. .. .. .. ....47.. ... 29.. ..36.. ..45.. .. 28