On Jan. 10, the Eastpointe Community Schools Board of Education approved the hiring of several new educators, including Crescentwood Elementary second grade teacher Makenzie Fortin, pictured here working with students.

On Jan. 10, the Eastpointe Community Schools Board of Education approved the hiring of several new educators, including Crescentwood Elementary second grade teacher Makenzie Fortin, pictured here working with students.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes


Eastpointe Community Schools working to fill staff vacancies

By: Maria Allard | Roseville - Eastpointe Eastsider | Published January 26, 2022

 Gwendolyn Magee, Crescentwood Elementary School least restrictive environment special education paraprofessional, helps students write the letter “L” in shaving cream. Magee’s position was approved at the board of education meeting.

Gwendolyn Magee, Crescentwood Elementary School least restrictive environment special education paraprofessional, helps students write the letter “L” in shaving cream. Magee’s position was approved at the board of education meeting.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

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EASTPOINTE — This month, Kim Myers began a new journey when she stepped inside a kindergarten classroom at Crescentwood Elementary School in the Eastpointe Community Schools.

Myers had previously been a paraprofessional with the district. But through a district program designed to recruit teachers as they finish their bachelor’s degrees in teaching and certification, she is now a long-term substitute kindergarten teacher at the school. Myers is substitute teaching on a permit supported by the district on her pathway toward certification.

The agreement with the teacher’s union, known as “Pathway for Paraprofessionals” is geared toward hiring and keeping qualified paraprofessionals who are taking college courses to become teachers. The program comes at a time in which there is a teacher shortage statewide.

Myers, a 1996 Warren Woods Tower High School graduate, has worked with children for “years and years” as a preschool teacher and paraprofessional. She has five children of her own, ages 10-19.

She stayed home with her own kids before she decided to return to the workplace. While a paraprofessional in the district, Myers worked with students who needed additional support in literacy. Myers, who has an associate degree, felt the “Pathway for Paraprofessionals” program was “a good opportunity,” so she went for it.

Myers is attending online classes with the University of Phoenix and is two years away from obtaining her bachelor’s degree and certification. She is funding her own education while “the district is looking into some scholarships.” While kindergarten teaching has its challenges, Myers is enjoying her new role with the students.

“I’m getting to know their personalities, and I’m building relationships. They’re very loving,” she said, adding that students often say, “I love you. I don’t want to leave.”

“I have a good support system with the other kindergarten teachers,” Myers said. “The teachers are amazing and helpful. I love Crescentwood. The principal (Susan Miller) is amazing. I absolutely love working there. I want to make a difference for the kids and try to be helpful in any situation I could.”

Other positions are being filled throughout the district. At the Jan. 10 Board of Education meeting, the school board approved the hiring of the following positions: Jennifer Swain, instructional coach, Pleasantview Elementary; Angelica Greathouse and Bria Townsend, Great Start Readiness Program associate teachers, Eastpointe Early Learning Center; Chelsey Taylor, 3-year-old program paraprofessional, Eastpointe Early Learning Center; Jessica Smith, literacy and paraprofessional, Forest Park Elementary; Jasmin Montoya, literacy and paraprofessional, Crescentwood Elementary; Gwendolyn Magee, least restrictive environment special education paraprofessional, Crescentwood; Sean Fisher, physical education teacher, Eastpointe Middle School; Makenzie Fortin, second grade teacher, Crescentwood; Charlene Torres, first grade teacher, Forest Park; and Ashley Johnson, kindergarten teacher, Forest Park.

“Eastpointe has struggled to fill our vacancies all year. The crisis isn’t over. Paraprofessionals are helping with the teacher shortage. We have a combination of classroom teachers and long-term subs who are leading instruction,” district Assistant Superintendent Christina Gibson said. “We’re trying to recruit and find people that are interested in going into the field of education, so we train them to become teachers. We have people who put off their education to raise their children and are coming in as paraprofessionals with the intent of becoming a certified teacher. We look at the best fit and place for the candidates.”

Several factors are considered when hiring teachers.

“They have to like students, love learning and enjoy working with children,” Gibson said.

School officials also are trying to find candidates who reside in the community.

“The more local the community, the more interest there is in the school district,” Gibson said. “Working and serving in their district strengthens the community.”

To search for hiring opportunities in the district, visit eastpointeschools.org.

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