APU Hiring Fair Connects Aspiring Educators with Schools and Districts

by Kayla Johnston ’16

Early the morning of Saturday, April 9, as many Azusa Pacific University students were still fast asleep, dozens of eager future educators lined up outside the doors of the Upper Turner Campus Center (UTCC) for APU’s Educator Hiring Fair. The event, organized by the School of Education, was an opportunity for students and alumni to network with representatives and administrators from schools and districts across Southern California.

With a growing shortage of teachers in California and qualified educators in high demand, the hiring fair provided ample opportunity for students and alumni planning to secure jobs in the education field to network with potential employers. More than 75 school districts were represented at the event.

“The Educator Hiring Fair gave our candidates and alumni the professional opportunity to network with districts where they hope to eventually find full-time employment,” said Nori Conner, director of outreach and alumni/professional services for the School of Education. “We know from accreditation and credentialing reports that our graduates love their careers in education and are highly rated for their job performance. This event was about facilitating connections, so even more APU educators can make a meaningful impact in the field.”

Not only did the event benefit students looking for employment in education, but it also extended the collaborative partnerships between school districts and APU. “Our district partners tell us that the value of an APU education is highly desirable when they are hiring,” said Anita Henck, Ph.D., dean of the School of Education. “We know that the impact of our credentials and degrees is enhanced even more by our curricular commitment to our university’s God First values.”

At the hiring fair, representatives from schools and districts set up tables where they spoke with candidates about anticipated job openings. Through these interactions, the hiring representatives learned more about candidates’ interests and qualifications. From there, employers could interview candidates in a designated area or give the aspiring educators additional information to apply to their open positions.

“I was able to network and meet district personnel that perhaps have seen my paper application, but would not necessarily call me back on my résumé alone,” said attendee Brittani Vaillancourt, M.A.Ed. ’17. “Being able to put a face and personality to the name is essential.”

Students and alumni were encouraged to dress their best in business professional attire, bring copies of their résumé to pass out, and interact with as many employers as they could.

“It would have been difficult to meet administrators and make a good impression by accessing online job sites for all these schools and districts alone,” said attendee John Ruiz, M.Div. ’10 and M.A. ’13. “And it would have been impossible to travel to all of the represented schools for interviews. APU brought them to us and made them accessible.”

The event continued well into the afternoon, as organizers celebrated its success and began early planning for next year’s hiring fair. “We already received wonderful feedback from participants about this event,” said Conner. “We found that a number of our educator candidates did participate in on-site interviews during the fair, and many made that important initial contact with potential employers.”