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TEA announces task force for staffing problems

The Texas Education Agency announced the creation of the Teacher Vacancy Task Force to help address ongoing staffing challenges in Texas public schools.

While the continued population growth of Texas was already contributing to a staffing shortage in some of the state’s urban and suburban public school districts, schools in various rural areas, and also, those requiring certain specialized teaching positions were also previously experiencing staffing difficulties. COVID has only further amplified this challenge; and spikes in COVID cases have led to many public schools across Texas being short-staffed and unable to find substitute teachers to help fill in where needed.


Additionally, over the last two years, nearly $18 billion in COVID-19 relief funding has been distributed to school systems, allowing for a critical increase in the number of teachers, staff and other priority support positions needing to be filled in public schools throughout Texas .

“Teachers are the single most important school-based factor affecting student outcomes,” said Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath. “The Teacher Vacancy Task Force will further ensure our ability to provide the best guidance, support, and resources to help schools find and retain the teachers they need for all their students.”

TEA is launching the Teacher Vacancy Task Force to ensure that Texas schools are equipped with a comprehensive set of strategies to address these challenges, working to:

  • Understand the challenges districts are currently facing related to teacher vacancies.
  • Share best practices for addressing critical teacher vacancy and shortage areas, including exploring opportunities for certification, placement, and hiring flexibilities.
  • Develop recommendations for regulatory or other policy changes for TEA.
  • Provide feedback on TEA initiatives designed to help impact vacancies.

The Teacher Vacancy Task Force will rely heavily on the presence and input of current teachers; additionally, TEA plans to have a designated teacher panel in future Task Force meetings to ensure that the agency is receiving guidance and feedback from a diverse and representative range of teachers across Texas.

The Task Force will be comprised of the following leaders in public education hailing from a variety of districts, geographies, and student populations from around the state:

Rosie Vega-Barrio, Superintendent, Bolt ISD

Norma Castillo, Executive Director of Talent, Austin ISD

Brandon Chandler, Chief Human Resources Officer, Gregory-Portland ISD

Richard Cooper, Superintendent, Corrigan-Camden ISD

Brandon Enos, Superintendent, Cushing ISD

Narciso Garcia, Superintendent, Vanguard Academy

Bernadette Gerace, Executive Director of Human Resources, Prosper ISD

LaTonya Goffney, Superintendent, Aldine ISD

Roland Hernandez, Superintendent, Corpus Christi ISD

Jason Hewitt, Superintendent, Shepard ISD

Jay Killgo, Superintendent, Vidor ISD

Andrew Kim, Superintendent, Comal ISD

Dave Lewis, Superintendent, Rochelle ISD

Judd Marshall, Superintendent, Mount Pleasant ISD

Casey Morgan, Executive Director of Human Resources, Responsive Ed

Ashley Osborne, Executive Director Talent Development, Ector County ISD

Chane Rascoe, Superintendent, Lampasas ISD

Melina Recio, Teacher, McAllen ISD

Greg Rodriguez, Superintendent, Edcouch Elsa ISD

Rick Rodriguez, Chief Operations Officer, Lubbock ISD

Jean Streepey, Teacher, Highland Park ISD

Chris Tatum, Chief Human Resources Officer, Amarillo ISD

Sherry Taylor, Executive Director of Human Resources, Aledo ISD

Justin Terry, Superintendent, Forney ISD

Roland Toscano, Superintendent, East Central ISD

Leah Tunnell, Assistant Superintendent for Administrative Services, Burkburnett ISD

Diana Barrera Ugarte, Superintendent, Kennedy ISD

Christie Volmer, Chief Human Resources Officer, Hereford ISD

The Task Force will meet every other month for one year, with Commissioner Morath and agency leadership regularly facilitating discussions with Task Force members, while including insights gathered from experts throughout the State of Texas, including direct feedback from teachers.

For more information—including a full overview of this effort—please visit TEA’s new Teacher Vacancy Task Force web page.

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