The minutes ticked away near the end of the school day as substitute teacher ensured students finished their work before the bell rang.
Justine Enochs stood at the front of the class and collected the work before students left the room. Entering her second year as a substitute teacher, Enochs said she enjoys the diversity each day brings.
Enoch is one of about 70 substitutes, but the school district is seeking more individuals who may want to teach in the classroom, drive a school bus or work in the cafeteria.
Kevin Lords, former high-school principal and now the district’s Human Resources director, said the lack of substitute teachers and instructional aides, bus drivers and custodians is also prevalent in other counties.
For example, although the Churchill County School District has about 70 substitute teachers, not all of them want to teach all grades from kindergarten to high-school seniors.
“Every day we’re short about two- to four substitutes districtwide,” Lords said.
He also said the district is in the process of adding additional substitute bus drivers, but that takes time because of training and passing a state-mandated test to drive a school bus.
After hearing from her friends, the school district needed substitutes, Enochs applied and was kept employed on a regular basis. Before that, Enochs had been in the behavioral counseling program before the State of Nevada ended it. She is also earning a master’s degree in psychology from North Central University.
“I’m fairly busy, which is good,” Enochs said. “If I wanted to work a lot, I can.”
Enochs said she spends her time between the middle and high schools, but she prefers the older students.
“I’m pretty open to everything … not really picky,” she said, “but I won’t do shop classes. I love P.E. classes, and I’ll play basketball and run with the students.”
Overall, she said her experience as a substitute teacher has been smooth.
“Nothing that’s discouraging,” said Enochs, whose husband is a civilian contractor at Naval Air Station Fallon.
Desiree Abuhendi graduated from CCHS in 2010 and is spending her first year as a substitute teacher.
“It’s much better than I thought it would be,” she said after finishing the day as a substitute teacher for Monica Fairbanks’ classes.
Abuhendi, though, comes from a family of educators, and her mother is the high-school librarian. The newly-minted substitute teacher said she has enjoyed the experience before, and she may continue to be a substitute in the classroom for several more years until she earns a bachelor’s degree … possibly in education.
“My grandma said follow your heart,” she added. “If you don’t like what you’re doing, follow your heart.”
Abuhendi has taught at the secondary level but not at the elementary schools. She said she enjoys teaching any student.
Lords said substitute teachers choose an assignment from the district’s computer program, Aesop, but he added teachers can also request certain individua’s. Licensed teachers or substitutes who successful pass a state training program earn $110 daily or $100 without the training. The daily rate increases for long-term substitutes. Although the emergency substitute license only requires a high school diploma, the traditional substitute license requires individuals to complete a minimum of 60 college-level credits.
According to Lords, CCSD tries to process applications quickly, and individuals must have their fingerprints taken at the Churchill County Sheriff’s Office. He said the district will provide training for the substitutes and guidance in the application process with the State of Nevada.
Lords said the school district has an immediate need for instructional assistants, duty assistants, bus drivers, custodians and food-service workers. He said the hours are varied.
Since the state’s economy has improved, Lords said many people who would’ve normally applied to be substitute employees have found either full-time jobs within the area or those that pay higher wages.
“But if people love kids, this is the place to come to work,” he said.