Record breaking year: over 35 new staff members hired


Isy Davis

South welcomes one of the new staff members to the Cougar family. Ben Clemons takes the role of new assistant band director for the 2022-2023 school year.

Anna Wittenkeller and Victoria Camarada

The 2022-2023 school year at Plainfield South brought more than just freshman and upperclassmen students- it also brought the newest staff members since its opening in 2001, mostly attributed to the recent teacher shortage across the country.
Most of the hiring process took place over the summer.
“In my eight years as principal, this was the most difficult summer in terms of hiring and replacing teachers. Just finding all new teachers was very difficult with the shortage,” Principal Bob Yanello said.
Humanities department head, Stephanie Stashak, agreed.
“I would say that the only real difference [between this year’s process and years past] is that we don’t have as many applicants as we often do,” she said.
According to administration, hiring for positions this year is still an ongoing process.
“On top of teachers, we hired secretaries, custodians, campus monitors, lunchroom people, and then teachers as well. We still need a couple SPED teachers; we are making it work right now with what we have but it took from the end of last April all the way up to the first day of school, and we are still looking,” Yanello said.
Despite the longer hiring process, there seems to be rewarding parts to the process.
Sandra McKinney, the math and science department head, stated they were able to conduct more in-person hiring, making a big difference from the past couple years of remote hiring.
“I like being able to actually have a face-to-face conversation with people. You get to know more about them. It just makes it a bit more personal,” McKinney said.
Along with the personal connections the hiring process brings, it also brings great new teachers, according to Yanello.
“As a collective bunch they are outstanding. They are enthusiastic [and are] glad to be here at South. They are knowledgeable and obviously kids come first to them, so I couldn’t be happier with the group that we got,” Yanello said.
Yanello wants to leave some advice for new teachers.
“Create an environment in the class that is a safe, understanding environment where kids know you believe in them. Create a positive, welcoming environment in your class, get to know your students, long before you get into your curriculum,” he said.