Schools happy to hire homegrown teachers

LAWRENCEVILLE - Each year, the Barrow County school system sees a growing number of its own graduates who are seeking jobs in their home county, said Ann Cronic, the director of human resources.

It's a trend also seen in the Gwinnett County and Buford City school systems: Students graduate from high school, go off to college and then want to come back home for a job.

Barrow County Schools welcome these homegrown teachers, Cronic said.

"If they want to come back, they know they received a good education while they were here," Cronic said.

Buford City Schools also hires many of its own graduates.

At Buford Middle School, 19 faculty members graduated from Buford High School, and seven graduated from the nearby North Gwinnett High School, a spokeswoman for the school said.

Buford High School Principal Steve Miller said several of his faculty members are graduates of Buford City Schools.

"They graduate, go get a degree and come back here to teach," Miller said.

Soon, aspiring teachers won't even have to leave Gwinnett County to get a four-year degree.

Georgia Gwinnett College recently hired its first dean of the school of education, said Jennifer Stephens, the college's spokeswoman.

Cathy Moore, who came to Georgia Gwinnett from Brenau University, will be developing the education program, Stephens said. The degree is not yet available, and Stephens said she did not know when the degree will be offered because the college wants to become accredited before adding that program.

Georgia Gwinnett, which already markets itself to Gwinnett's high school graduates, will continue to recruit Gwinnett graduates once the education degree is available,

Stephens said.

Once the education program is up and running, Gwinnett Technical College plans to partner with Georgia Gwinnett, said Mary Beth Byerly, Gwinnett Tech's executive director of institutional advancement.

Students in Gwinnett Tech's early childhood care and education program would be able to transfer to Georgia Gwinnett to get a bachelor's degree, and Georgia Gwinnett students would be able to complete internships at Gwinnett Tech's Early Education Center, Byerly said.

Graduates of Gwinnett Tech's program have several career choices, and one option is to become a paraprofessional in Gwinnett County Public Schools, Byerly said. Other students pursue careers at day care or child development centers, and some want to open their own day care centers, she said.

"Most of our students come from Gwinnett County," Byerly said, "and a good majority do stay in Gwinnett."