Lee County recruiting bilingual teachers from Puerto Rico

Reporter: Tiffany Rizzo Writer: Joey Pellegrino
Published: Updated:

For the first time in three years, Lee County is looking for teachers in Puerto Rico to bring more bilingual educators to a heavily Hispanic student body.

The Lee County student population is 43% Hispanic. Only time will tell how this recruiting push will work, but 24 teachers were hired from a 2018 job fair in Puerto Rico.

COVID-19 prevented in-person recruiting for the last three years. But on Friday, the School District of Lee County is returning along with the public schools of Polk and St. Lucie counties for a two-day recruitment event in San Juan.

Maria Santiago, a teacher hired from Puerto Rico in 2017 who now teaches at Tice Elementary, is now on Lee County’s recruitment team.

Santiago says teachers who come to Lee County from Puerto Rico will have the room of their dreams, a just salary and plenty of benefits, like social security and good insurance. She says she will encourage them to come because Lee County will feel like home.

And Lee County is still feeling a teacher shortage. There are around 200 open teacher positions, and a new middle school is set to open in August for 900 Lehigh Acres students.

Teachers who receive job offers will get support from the district throughout the hiring process and as they move to Lee County.

Orientation for all teachers new to the school district will be in late July.

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