Carroll schools turn to old pros for new hires

August 18, 2002|By Jennifer McMenamin | Jennifer McMenamin,SUN STAFF

School officials have always called them "kids" -- the new teachers who move into classrooms in August to prepare for the school year. The nickname seems apt, considering that many of them don't look much older than their students.

But this year, for the first time, the Carroll school district has hired more experienced teachers than first-year educators. Of the 226 teachers hired for this school year, 95 are rookies.

In short, the veterans outnumber the kids.

"As the pool of new teachers shrinks and signing graduates of teaching colleges and universities becomes more competitive, we've had to look other places to fill our teaching vacancies," said Stephen Guthrie, the school district's assistant superintendent of administration, noting that this is also the largest number of new hires the district has signed in a single year.

As recently as five years ago, about 70 percent of Carroll County's new teachers were recent college graduates. The mix slowly shifted to a 50-50 split between new and returning teachers. This year, almost 60 percent of new hires come from other school systems.

"I think it gives me a little edge," said Sandie Borzymowski, who describes her age as "40-plus" and who will teach third grade at Robert Moton Elementary. "The older you get, the better you get."

Borzymowski spent five years in the 1980s teaching third grade in Baltimore schools before she took a job as the human resources manager of a plastics manufacturing company.

She and several friends chuckled as they looked around the cafeteria at North Carroll High School on Monday, where 190 of the county's new teachers were having lunch on the first day of orientation.

"We were joking that some of these people look like children," said Cathy DeStefano, 36, who ended her stint as a stay-at-home mom last week, when the school year began for her.

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