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UP Schools Bracing for Teacher Shortage

Two vacant teaching jobs – one month goes by – and not a single person applies.

That’s the reality facing Upper Peninsula school superintendents and it’s only going to get worse.

Lou Steigerwald, superintendent of Norway-Vulcan Area Schools, surveyed other U.P. superintendents and found most expect to lose 25 percent of their teachers in the next five years and don’t think they’ll be able to fill the vacancies.

One reason, he says schools can no longer rely on college students wanting to teach.

That’s because many won’t make enough to pay down their student loans.

Established teachers with families have had trouble making the move north too because their spouses haven’t been able to find work in the tight U.P. job market.

Steigerwald says he and other superintendents expect to have the toughest time filling vacancies in math, science, special education, career tech education and the fine arts.

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