Limestone Impacted by Nationwide Teacher Shortage


Brooklyn Winchell, Writer

In the past few years, America has been facing a decline in applicants for job positions, especially in the world of education.   Limestone has been impacted by the nationwide teacher shortage.

LCHS principal Keith Brown admits it has been difficult hiring new staff due to the ongoing teacher shortage.  Holding the position as principal for the past eight years at both Illini Bluffs and now at Limestone, Brown has witnessed the decrease in numbers firsthand. “I’d seen positions that we used to get twenty to thirty applicants, now we’re lucky if we get two to three,” states Brown.

When discussing what has caused the shortage, Brown believes that many factors play into it. With Covid putting a strain on schools for the last several years and politics having a major role as well, students have been at the center of it all. Navigating the world of politics has left schools divided when dealing with issues that may arise such as prioritizing schools, public education, waivers for charter schools, and more.

The retirement system also factors into it. In the past few years, retirement requirements have been extended so teachers are not capable of retiring until they are much older. In addition, pay and benefits also have an effect.

Ensuring that Limestone is able to offer all the classes students want has also been an issue. It has taken a toll on teachers as they have to now juggle multiple classes to support their students, not allowing much time for themselves or their other classes. Limestone struggles to find the balance between providing the classes students enjoy and the number of teachers available to cover those classes.

There has been a lot of tension in the education realm, with schools competing for qualified teachers. To attract the best teachers, Brown wants to put his school out there by preaching about Limestone’s positive community. Limestone is focused on building relationships, not only with local colleges and universities but also with propitious students who wish to dive into the world of education. Brown mentioned that certain schools achieve this by partnering with students who wish to become teachers by offering them scholarships which in return they will teach at their school once they graduate.

Growing up surrounded by people who were involved in education, Brown has always held an appreciation toward teachers. “Education is a noble profession because you pour yourself into the success of other people,” says Brown. Teaching is important because it focuses on bringing out the best in students and Brown believes that sometimes society can forget that.

Limestone has been fortunate enough that they only have one teaching vacant in the English department.  Advertising plays a key role in filling positions.  Brown explains Limestone’s strategy, “Keep making sure that we’re telling our story and telling all the great things happening here,” Limestone also utilizes its online tools such as its website and other social media platforms to spread its message.  They also use the IASA job bank to advertise positions.