MDE releases 2023-24 Educator Shortage survey results

Published 3:00 pm Thursday, February 15, 2024

More than 5,000 vacancies exist among teachers, administrators and school support staff across Mississippi, according to the Mississippi Department of Education.

MDE’s 2023-2024 Educator Shortage survey reveals 5,012 open positions, an increase of 24 compared to the previous school year. The survey was conducted by the MDE Office of Teaching and Leading Aug. 4-Nov. 15, 2023, with 100 percent voluntary participation from all school districts. In 2021-2022, there were 5,503 vacancies reported, and 4,988 in 2022-2023.

This year, vacancies increased by 182 among teachers; by nine among K-12 licensed educators such as library/media, counselors, and speech language positions; and by 25 among principals and assistant principals. Vacancies decreased, however, by 192 among K-12 support staff, such as teacher assistants, nurses, custodians, bus drivers, food service staff, and administrative assistants.

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Decreases in teacher vacancies were noted in the northeast and southeast portions of the state. Vacancies increased the most in the central and northwest regions.

Proven strategies to mitigate past educator vacancies through increased teacher recruitment have included acceptance of individuals into the Mississippi Teacher Residency program and removing barriers to educator licensure, including expanding access to alternate-route elementary educator preparation programs and the Performance-Based Licensure program per district request. Additionally, MDE-sponsored events and professional learning opportunities such as the Elevate Teachers Conference remain effective as a strategy for increased teacher retention.

Evaluating these results along with the 2022-2023 Teacher Retention survey results, MDE has identified four main strategies to address the current vacancies:

  • Convene an Educator Workforce Advisory group comprised of Mississippi universities and districts to address current and projected needs.​
  • Increase awareness of new elementary education pathways and endorsement options.
  • Ask the Legislature for support to continue the Mississippi Teacher Residency in geographical critical shortage areas.
  • Launch the Professional Growth System Observation and Development Portal in Mississippi Educator Career Continuum Archive (MECCA) and the Empowering Educators Workshop.

View the MDE’s Workforce Shortages and Strategies presentation here.