With the Oklahoma Department of Education cracking down on emergency certifications for non-accredited teachers, we asked superintendents of Wagoner County schools how the decision will affect their respective districts.

Coweta Superintendent Jeff Holmes said the teacher shortage is still “very real”, and it will take some time to get enough certified candidates to fill the district’s employment needs.

“I am currently in the process of getting emergency certification for two new teachers, but I expect that number to increase as we are currently interviewing some who would need an emergency certificate to teach certain classes,” Holmes said.

Coweta Public Schools had four emergency certified teachers on staff during the 2018-2019 school year.

“We were unable to rehire one of those teachers this year since he was informed he did not qualify for another year of emergency certification,” Holmes noted. “We are currently seeking a qualified candidate to fill that position.”

During the 2017-18 school year, CPS had nine teachers who were emergency certified to teach specific courses.

Holmes said while the state’s new requirements will not make it much more difficult to fill openings, he does believe it will make it more difficult to keep someone on an emergency certification.

Porter Consolidated School Superintendent Charles McMahan said his district will have three teachers working on emergency certification for the 2019-2020 school year. That is down from four emergency certifications last year and two the year before.

Responses from Wagoner Superintendent Randy Harris and Okay Superintendent Pete Hisley were not received before press time. We will update at wagonercountyat.com as comments become available.

Christy has been covering news and sports in Wagoner County since 1988. She is a graduate of Oklahoma State University with a degree in Public Relations/Journalism.