Destin High School looks to hire 17 teachers and office staff before 2021-22 school year
Just like the Marines are “looking for a few good men,” Destin High School is looking for a few good teachers — 17 for now.
Destin High is moving forward with a student enrollment at 265-plus with a cap of 300.
“If enrollment stays where it is right now, I’ll be looking at 17 teachers and then some office staff and one guidance counselor for now,” said Principal Christine Cruickshank.
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The high school will have ninth-, 10th- and 11th-grade classes.
“The 11th-grade class is right around 45 students right now,” Cruickshank said.
However, Cruickshank said she is getting phone calls and emails from people who are still coming to the area and seeing that the school will open in August.
“It’s very exciting,” she noted.
Cruickshank said students have been coming in the past few weeks and picking classes. So far, the interest has been across the board, from art to technology.
Before students step through the doors, teachers are needed
Cruickshank said she is looking for probably two teachers per core area, such as social studies, English, math and science.
She also is looking for an athletic director as well as a physical education teacher.
“I’m definitely looking for a business person,” she said.
Other teachers are needed for art, music, band, drama, technology, foreign languages and exceptional education classes.
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"If teachers can do multiple things, that helps a lot,” Cruickshank said.
The fishing curriculum has been approved, so Destin High will offer a fishing class.
“It’s a go, and the extracurriculars with the fish class are a go,” she said, noting both boys and girls are signed up for the class.
Cruickshank already has about 50 applicants for the teaching positions.
Starting the week of April 12, she will begin reaching out to candidates and doing interviews in person or on Zoom.
“I need to find the people that are going to fit what we need. Not just what they teach, but how they teach … and their enthusiasm for students and teaching,” Cruickshank said.
“They're also going to have to be very flexible, in terms of a brand-new school … be able to roll with the punches. But also be willing to step up and go above and beyond,” she said.
Cruickshank believes as they hire people the curriculum will grow as well, with teachers showing an interest to expand and broaden the electives pool.
"Until we grow and get more people, it’s going to be 20 of us keeping this going,” she said. “It’s been good so far with one, now I just need some help.”
As for when teachers will start, Cruickshank said she would like to have them committed by mid-May and at the school by July 1, depending on contracts.
Safety protocols in place
In addition to teachers and office staff, Cruickshank is working with the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office to get a school resource officer.
The school also will have all the safety measures such as the fencing in place before the school opens.
“We’ve got a lot to do before the kids get here for training and the classrooms,” she said, noting she would like to have the SRO train the entire staff on safety.
The work to revamp what was once Grace Lutheran Church into a high school is a little ahead of schedule. Cruickshank said officials hope to have the classrooms ready by July 4.
“We hope that will be our Independence Day,” she said.