LAWRENCEVILLE - Gwinnett County Public Schools officials say the school system's new partnership with a real estate and relocation firm will help the district's recruitment efforts.

More than 2,200 people from throughout the nation attended the school district's largest-ever employment fair recently, and recruiters will be working for the next five months to fill about 1,700 teaching positions for the 2008-09 school year, said Sloan Roach, the school system's spokeswoman.

The school district has partnered with Storey Morrow Company, a full-service real estate and relocation firm in Duluth, to help new hires with their move to Gwinnett County. The company will be able to help employees buy or rent a home here and, if needed, sell their property elsewhere, said Dan Smith, the school system's director of benefits and leave administration.

"Everybody needs a roof over their head," Smith said. "In particular, some new hires who are fresh out of college, especially if they've been living in a dorm, might have never done this before. They'll have seasoned experts right there to help them with contracts. ... It's better than getting out the yellow pages and just going down the line making phone calls."

Because many new employees come from outside of Georgia, it can be a daunting task to figure out where to live, Smith said. Storey Morrow Company can help new employees figure out what homes are near the school at which they'll be working, and the company will also take the teachers on a tour of the area to show them the major traffic arteries and nearby businesses, he said.

The partnership does not cost the school system anything, and there is no direct cost to the employees that use the service, Smith said. Storey Morrow Company will be paid through traditional industry commissions.

The program is not limited to the school system's new hires, either. Smith said any Gwinnett County Public Schools employee can use the service.

Kelly Herndon, the school system's director of recruitment and retention, said the program will be "a real boost to our recruitment efforts."

"Competition is fierce for the top talent," Herndon said in a news release. "As a result, we must aggressively reach out further across the country each year to find the teachers we need. With a large percentage of our new teachers coming from outside our community, having a team of relocation experts to assist them is another benefit we can offer to attract the very best."

Kipley Morrow, the vice president of Storey Morrow Company said in the news release that the partnership is designed to free up the school system's recruiters from having to be relocation experts.

"We'll let them focus on finding the teachers and then we'll give them a welcome to this community like no other," Morrow said. "We want new employees to know how much we value them and appreciate the gifts they bring to our community."

Nick Masino, the vice president of economic development for the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce, said this partnership is a perfect example of the ones Partnership Gwinnett is trying to forge in the community.

"This directly addresses the Education Excellence goals we have outlined in Partnership Gwinnett," Masino said in the news release. "GCPS and Storey Morrow Company are setting a great example and it is our hope that additional Gwinnett companies will step forward with innovative ideas as well. When it comes to hiring new employees, bringing the best to Gwinnett will help our school system and county, and the real winners are Gwinnett's schoolchildren."

SideBar: At a Glance

Gwinnett County Public Schools' partnership with Storey Morrow Company allows the school district to offer a new benefit - a relocation service provider - to its employees and new hires. Below are the benefits the school system says it offers:

* Largest employer in Gwinnett and in the top five in the Atlanta metro area; voted "Best Employer"

* Outstanding parental and community support

* Great location - beautiful weather, the experience of four seasons, and an average yearly temperature of 70 degrees

* Competitive salaries

* Year-for-year salary schedule credit for up to 29 years of verified teaching experience from a state-accredited system

* Full benefits extended to all full-time employees and to part-time employees working 20 or more hours

* Annual vacation, sick leave and personal leave

Health, dental, vision and cancer insurance available

* Life, disability and worker's compensation insurance available

* Automobile and homeowner's insurance available

* Professional liability insurance

* State and local retirement plans

* Relocation service providers

* Sparkfly and Perkitz employee discount programs