State Senator Volunteers To Substitute Teach Amid School Staff Shortage

Thursday, January 20th 2022, 6:17 pm

As schools across Oklahoma struggle to find substitute teachers amid a surge of COVID cases, some at the state level have offered to help.

"It had been on my heart for some time that I needed to go help the school districts,” said Brenda Stanley, a state Senator.

Stanley, a Republican who represents Midwest City and surrounding areas, is one of the people volunteering her help.

Stanley is a former teacher and school principal, and subbed on January 19 at Midwest City Middle School.

"I called our Superintendent and asked him if he needed any help, he said sure,” Stanley said. “I said well I'm available, put me anywhere, I'll do anything you need me to do."

Earlier this week, Governor Kevin Stitt made a plea to state employees to sign up and help with the statewide substitute shortage.

171 city employees have signed up so far, but more are needed.

The state chamber of commerce is also making a plea to business owners and has launched a guest educator program for those in the business community to sub.

“We believe that if the guest educator program works, businesses will be more empowered to match up willing employees if there is a school district in their area with needs," said Chad Warmington, President of the State Chamber.

These programs are also getting some pushback.

Bixby Superintendent Rob Miller released a statement earlier this week and said the Governor's plan, "diminishes the value of educators and asserts they can be easily replaced."

Senator Stanley said she hopes to help again.

"It's not for everybody and I certainly realize that,” said Stanley. “I do hold a valid teaching certificate so that makes me a bit unique. I just had that desire and it was in my heart to do it."

Other states are starting to develop similar plans.

On January 19, New Mexico's Governor announced she is asking both state employees and the national guard to substitute teach in her state.