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Henderson Chamber honors Rusk County teachers

By Angela Ward
Aug. 15, 2013 at 11 p.m.

HENDERSON - New teachers from Rusk County school districts had a chance to meet community leaders on Thursday afternoon at a reception sponsored by the Henderson Area Chamber of Commerce.

Officials at the two largest districts completely within the county said the hiring of new teachers and the number of transfer students in their district are both up from the previous year.

Drenon Fite, human resources director for the Tatum Independent School District said the district has hired 23 new teachers for the 2013-14 school year. While 18 of these are replacing teachers who left the district, five are new positions created to deal with the district's increasing student population.

"The new positions are pretty spread out at various campuses and grade levels," Fite said.

The district has a total enrollment of 1,637 students. There are about 345 transfer students, up from 275 in the 2012-12 school year, he said.

The Henderson Independent School District has about 55 new teachers, which Human Resources Director Stacey Sullivan said is somewhat higher than usual.

"We have a new athletic director, which usually means a large number of new coaches," Sullivan said. "I think that's the primary reason we've had more of a turnover than we generally do."

Other teachers have been hired to replace those who retired or moved, as is common during any school year, she said. The district did not add many new teaching positions.

The number of transfer students in Henderson has remained steady at between 150 and 175 students, she said.

Aaron Kerss a new science teacher at Henderson High School, said he appreciated the event at the Chamber of Commerce. He is a recent graduate from Stephen F. Austin State University and this will be his first teaching position.

"It's good to have a chance to visit not only with other teachers and administrators, but to meet people from throughout the community," Kerss said.

Amy Richardson, who will be teaching at Mount Enterprise Junior High School, also enjoyed the event. She is returning to teaching after having spent the past decade as a stay-at-home mother.

"As teachers, we don't get a whole lot of pats on the back, so I think it's really nice that they do something like this for us," Richardson said.

Rick Hanning, chairman of the chambers education committee, said the reception helps new teachers connect to the community.

"Most of them are new to this area and this is a way for us to start building relationships with our educators," Hanning said.

There are seven school districts completely within Rusk County: Henderson, Tatum, Overton, West Rusk, Mount Enterprise, Leverett's Chapel and Carlisle. Part of the Kilgore Independent School District extends into Rusk County, but because that district's administrative buildings are in Gregg County, it is not generally considered among the Rusk County schools.



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