School of Education Hiring Fair Helps Educators Meet Employers, Land Jobs

by Lucero Denisse Oceguera ’18

Over the spring mid-semester break, as most undergraduate students traveled home or served in one of APU’s many outreach programs, more than 200 Azusa Pacific graduate students, alumni, and guests of the university filled Felix Event Center for the School of Education’s second annual Educator Hiring Fair.

Through the event, current and aspiring educators had the chance to advance their career opportunities by meeting with nearly 70 hiring representatives from schools and districts across 6 counties in Southern California. “Our mission is to prepare educators for diverse educational settings. Hosting the hiring fair provides our students and alumni with the opportunity to network and interview with a wide variety of districts and schools,” said Kari Yahiro, M.S., assistant director of alumni/professional services for the School of Education.

Connecting incoming and experienced educators to jobs in the field is increasingly important amid a widening teacher shortage in California. The state will need an additional 100,000 teachers over the next decade, according to the Center for the Future of Teaching and Learning. With many current teachers planning to retire and fewer early-career educators ready to take their places, Azusa Pacific’s School of Education is helping to answer a statewide need by preparing the next generation of education professionals and serving as a resource to local districts.

“The Educator Hiring Fair enables APU to showcase our students and programs to districts and private schools seeking to fill key educator roles, including classroom teachers, school counselors and psychologists, and school or district leaders,” said Anita Henck, Ph.D., dean of the School of Education. “We have a solid track record of student and alumni placements through these events, including on-the-spot hiring, as well as call-backs for final interviews.” One such student is Brittani Vaillancourt, M.A.Ed. ’17, who attended the Educator Hiring Fair last year, where she engaged in meaningful conversation with many district representatives, which led to her job as a middle school teacher with Temecula Valley Unified School District. “Attending the hiring fair increased my confidence in finding a job, and also allowed me to network with various institutions that later offered me a position, including my current placement,” said Vaillancourt.

Marcus Funchess, Ed.D., is the director of recruitment and employment for San Bernardino City Unified School District. This marked his second year participating in the Educator Hiring Fair at APU. “We look for intern-eligible or credentialed teachers prepared to work in diverse student assignments,” said Funchess. He emphasized solid attendance at the fair and the positive character and eagerness of participants as factors that encouraged him to return for a second year seeking potential hires for his district’s job openings.

For the first time, in addition to current APU students and alumni seeking jobs in the field, the Educator Hiring Fair was also open to the public. Strong response from the entire community prompted the event planners to move the fair from Upper Turner Campus Center into the Felix Event Center, providing even more space for the growing annual event. “We wanted to make the hiring fair beneficial for the districts as well as the private and charter schools who participated by allowing them to interact with as many potential candidates as possible,” said Yahiro, who noted that a third of the attendees were not APU School of Education students or alumni. “We also invited other universities to send their students, and they were thankful for an opportunity to get their students in front of potential employers.”

Lucero Denisse Oceguera ’18 is an editorial intern in the Office of University Relations. She is a sociology major and ethnic studies minor.