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New data shows teacher shortage in Arizona has worsened

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  • Justin Wing/Arizona School Personnel Administrators Association

A Gilbert Public Schools Teacher Works With Her Students. Photo Courtesy Of Gilbert Public Schools

Four months into the school year, the severe teacher shortage in Arizona continues, according to a recent survey released by the Arizona School Personnel Administrators Association.

Nearly 159 school districts and charter schools throughout Arizona participated in the ASPAA survey, which was focused on teacher vacancies and teachers who have already severed employment on or before the week of November 28, 2016.

Infographic by Lisa Irish/AZEdNews
Click here for a larger version of this infographic

ASPAA shares this data with you as a reminder that the severity of the teacher shortage must be addressed.

“It is challenging for schools to hire and retain effective teachers when the candidate pool is dry,” said ASPAA Past President Justin Wing. “We must make a collective effort to ensure that the availability of effective teachers is an urgent priority for next year and years to come.”

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Arizona School Personnel Administrators Association survey on teacher vacancies (Sept. 2016)

In September, the Arizona School Personnel Administrators Association shared survey results confirming the severe teacher shortage in Arizona.  The purpose of sharing these results was to bring awareness to various decision makers as to the need for a collective effort to ensure the recruitment and retention of effective teachers in Arizona.

Listed below are some current figures.

26% Of teacher positions remain vacant four weeks into the school year. (2166)
+ 27% Of teacher positions filled by individuals not meeting standard teacher requirements (using alternative methods) (2221)
         = 53% Of teacher positions either remain vacant or were filled by individuals not meeting standard teacher requirements (using alternative methods).

·       2,166 teacher positions remain vacant

·       2,221 teacher positions filled using alternative methods.

421 Teachers abandoned their teacher position by failing to show to work or by abruptly leaving their job within the first four weeks of the school year.
+ 667 Additional teachers resigned from their teacher position within the first four weeks of the school year.
= 1,088 Teachers who either abandoned or resigned from their teacher position within first four weeks of the school year. 


Category Item Count
Survey Responses Arizona school districts and charter schools participating in the survey. 159
Total Teacher Openings Teacher openings needed to be filled for the 2016-2017 school year (in FTE). 8,343.5

Current Teacher Vacancies


Vacancies filled by long-term substitutes. 879.2
Vacancies filled by contracted agency (e.g. special education positions). 246.6
Vacancies filled by administration or certified specialists (e.g. instructional coaches). 72
Vacancies collapsed in which an existing teacher(s) now has a class size that exceeds the school’s class size limits. 127
Vacancies collapsed in which the school created multi-grade classrooms. 85
Vacancies filled by having teachers work on 6/5ths contract (no planning time for these teachers). 689.1
Vacancies filled by hiring student teachers as the “teacher of record” as agreed by the college/university (before student teacher has graduated). 67
Total Vacancies (As of November 28, 2016) 2,165.9

Individuals not meeting standard teacher requirements

(alternative methods)

Vacancies filled by individuals who are pending certification.  These individuals are intended to teach in the same classroom for the entire year, but are not yet appropriately certified. 876
Vacancies filled by individuals who received an emergency teacher certificate.


Vacancies fill by individuals who received a teacher intern certificate by participating in the teacher intern program (alternative pathway certificates).


Vacancies fill by individuals hired from outside of the United States by means of the H1B1 or another visa.


Total Not Meeting Standard Requirements (As of August 28) 2,221

Severing of Employment

Teachers who did not report to work or abandoned their job. 421
Teachers resigned, regardless of reason, in which the school approved their “release   of contract”. 667
Total Teachers that Severed Employment (As of August 28) 1,088


For more information or comments, please contact Jason Hammond, president of the Arizona School Personnel Administrators Association, in Phoenix at (602) 579-2148 or or Justin Wing, past president of the Arizona School Personnel Administrators Association in Phoenix at (602) 388-2200 or

For more information on ASPAA, go to