Finding quality teachers knows no boundaries

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Dallas ISD’s commitment to having a quality teacher in every classroom means the district must look beyond the Metroplex, the state, and, in the case of bilingual teachers, even outside of the country. In addition to traveling to career fairs around Texas and the U.S., Dallas ISD recruiters go to Puerto Rico and Spain every year to ensure that talented bilingual educators are aware of the positions available here.

The extra effort involved in these trips continues to pay off, resulting in the hiring of top-notch classroom leaders. It’s been so successful that the Board of Trustees recently renewed an agreement to collaborate with the Texas Education Agency and the Ministry of Education of Spain.

Fourth-grade teacher Mercy Nazario leads a dual language class at Lakewood Elementary, and was recruited from Puerto Rico six years ago. “The opportunities that I have here are endless,” said Nazario. “The MLEP (Multi-Language Enrichment Program) staff provides all the support you need throughout the system. They guided me every step of the way.”

The Human Capital Management staff has a few tools to help attract top bilingual prospects to the district, including signing incentives such as bonuses and stipends. But finding the right fit for the students comes down to qualifications and character. Human Development Executive Director Tony Munoz explained, “We really look for that person who wants to make a difference in our community. We have a lot of need for someone to come in with passion, with grit, and with grace to get into our schools and be that role model for these kids.”

Four trips to Puerto Rico this year and one trip to Spain, along with local and regional travel, ensure the recruitment team has several chances to meet talented bilingual teachers. Ultimately, this search for the best available teachers benefits the students and community. According to Munoz, those teachers “can look at a child’s environment and say, ‘You may live in this environment, but you don’t have to be a product of this environment. You can be something beyond that.’ ”

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