Simplified: The Sioux Falls School District hired more out-of-state teachers, more teachers of color and more teachers overall compared to recent years, according to information presented to the board Monday.

Why it matters

  • Sioux Falls hired 219 new teachers about one-third of whom came from out-of-state. The largest number of those new teachers came from Minnesota and Iowa.
  • The district also saw an increase in teachers of color, though overall teachers are still not representative of the students they instruct.
  • The higher-than-average number of new hires also coincided with fewer applicants and more contract rejections than the district has seen in recent years.
  • Sioux Falls still has openings for a handful of teachers, dozens of staff and a need for about 250 substitute teachers.

Tell me more about the new teachers

About 30 of the total new hires were also people of color, bringing the total percentage of non-white teachers up to just under 5 percent district-wide.

  • It's nearly a full percentage point increase from the year prior but still a far cry from parity as students of color make up about 40 percent of students.

Sioux Falls also recruited more teachers with alternative certifications – generally meaning people with experience in a specific industry teaching classes related to that industry.

  • Last year, there were 12 teachers with alternative certifications, according to Human Resources Director Becky Dorman. This year, there were 24.

Why the out-of-state increase?

Each teacher has their own unique reasons for taking a job in Sioux Falls, but several who talked to Sioux Falls Simplified had existing ties to the city or district.

Others said the pandemic influenced their decision to come, noting they wanted to teach in-person and be in a place with fewer restrictions.

  • That was definitely part of the draw for Arom Burgueno, a new third grade teacher at Oscar Howe Elementary who moved from Dallas, Texas.
"It was like day and night in terms of the pandemic," Burgueno said. "It was a breath of fresh air, literally ... here, life is quite normal."

Patrick Henry Middle School music teacher Hailey Meyer falls into both categories.

  • She and her husband Mason Meyer (also a teacher starting this year at Roosevelt High School) came to Sioux Falls – Hailey's hometown – Β from Florida where Mason taught hybrid online and in-person learning.
"What teachers went through last year trying to do hybrid, it was too much," Hailey Meyer said. "That was definitely a draw for the both of us that we were going to be one or the other (in person or online)."

What jobs are still unfilled?

Dozens, according to Monday's board report. That's not counting the 250 substitute teachers still needed.

The district is hiring for:

  • 32 support staff,
  • 30 custodians,
  • 12 coaches,
  • and six food service workers.